Thursday, May 7, 2009

Economy Beers Give Brewers Lift in Downturn


The Wall Street Journal - Mark Lehr's favorite beer is Heineken, but one recent afternoon, the Chicagoan emerged from a 7-Eleven with a 12-pack of Busch that cost him $8 -- about $7 less than a dozen Heinekens.

"My funds are limited right now," said the 39-year-old house painter, noting that he has had far fewer customers during the recession.

Sales of so-called economy brews, including Busch, Miller High Life and Pabst Brewing Co.'s Pabst Blue Ribbon, are rising faster than the nation's beer sales overall, and are helping industry giants Anheuser-Busch InBev NV and MillerCoors LLC weather the economic downturn.

Anheuser, based in Leuven, Belgium, is expected to report healthy sales at its U.S. unit when it posts first-quarter results Thursday, thanks in part to its stable of low-priced brews such as Natural Light and Busch Light.

Though less profitable, these brews are helping Anheuser offset slower sales growth for its larger brands. "We feel we have brands that can meet any consumer need," said Dave Peacock, president of the company's U.S. unit.http://online.wsj.com/article/SB124165010171893491.html#articleTabs%3Darticle

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