World Cup boosts Bud’s fortunes in the UK

Anheuser-Busch Inbev (AB-Inbev) says World Cup-themed marketing campaigns helped boost UK sales of its flagship Budweiser brand in the first quarter.

Budweiser World Cup
Budweiser World Cup

The drinks maker has been steadily upping the World Cup activity for Budweiser, which will be the official beer at the tournament in June, and it has helped boost volumes by 40% in the first three months of the year, the company says.

Bud’s performance helped AB-Inbev gain market share in the UK and increase own beer volumes by 1.3%, it says.

Stuart MacFarlane, president of AB-InBev UK, says Budweiser’s growth highlights “the impact of our strong brand support”. He adds that the uplift also offers “a glimpse of what’s to come as we head into the World Cup season” when he claims the official World Cup beer “has traditionally outperformed its competitors.”

Globally, the drinks producer, which also owns the Stella Artois and Beck’s brands, says revenue increased 1.9% to $8.3bn (£5.5bn) in the first quarter.

Sales and marketing spend increased 4.8% to $1.06bn (£700m) worldwide, the company says, driven by the global “Budweiser United” campaign ahead of the World Cup.

AB-Inbev says the marketing investment, and the subsequent increase in costs, will hit profitability in the second quarter, although volume growth will be “more in line” with Q1 growth.

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