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News Briefs for October 30, 2015

October 30, 2015

•Anheuser-Busch InBev’s U.S. depletions declined by 2.1% in the third quarter, as the beer giant’s biggest brand—Bud Light—continued to struggle, as did the Rita’s RTD range and ABI’s value portfolio. Still, the brewer says that increased investments behind Stella Artois, Budweiser, Michelob Ultra and Goose Island are delivering good results, and the buoyancy at the premium end led to revenue per hectoliter growth of 1.5% for the quarter. Globally, ABI’s revenue grew by 7.9% in the three-month period (ended September 30), driven by double-digit growth in Mexico and solid results for Corona around the globe (not including the U.S. market, where the Mexican brew is handled by Constellation Brands). However, unfavorable currency exchange impact and higher net finance results led to a 45% drop in third-quarter profit for ABI, which recently reached an agreement in principle to acquire longtime rival SABMiller.

•Diageo’s Cîroc vodka brand is extending its flavored lineup with the launch of Cîroc Apple. Rolling out nationwide in January, the 35%-abv entry features notes of green apple, vanilla and citrus, and will be available in 50-ml., 200-ml., 375-ml., 750-ml., 1-liter and 1.75-liter formats, priced at $30.99 a 750-ml. Cîroc Apple joins existing Pineapple, Peach, Amaretto, Red Berry and Coconut expressions in the brand’s flavored vodka stable.

•Total Wine & More looks to be expanding its California presence into the Bay Area. According to the Silicon Valley Business Journal, the $2 billion retail giant has signed leases in both Fremont and Mountain View, with corresponding locations expected to open next year. Total Wine’s closest stores to the Bay Area have been its four outposts around Sacramento. The company didn’t immediately return a request for comment.

•Ireland’s C&C Group saw North American net revenue drop 12.5% to $25 million in its fiscal first half, ended August 31. Operating profit fell 61.5% to about $548,000. C&C’s North American portfolio declined 14.6% to about 1.6 million (2.25-gallon) cases during the period. The company cited a loss of momentum from commercial cider brands in the U.S. and increasing competition from new entries and alcoholic root beer as shaking up the category. C&C’s Woodchuck cider, acquired in 2013 for $305 million, is seeing early success with its Gumption offshoot following a February launch, but that failed to offset declines for the core brand. The U.S. cider market is projected to rise 39% to 26 million cases this year, according to Impact Databank.


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