Budweiser-owner AB InBev reports profit hike as beer drinkers shoulder higher prices
Budweiser-owner Anheuser-Busch InBev on Thursday reported a jump in profit for the first quarter, saying the beer industry had proved resilient despite inflationary pressures.
The Belgium-based brewing giant — the biggest in the world — reported core profit of $4.76 billion, up by 13.6% from the first quarter of 2022. The rise compared to a 5.6% consensus estimate published by the company. Underlying profit attributable to shareholders came in at $1.3 billion, up from $1.2 billion during the same quarter last year.
Revenues rose 13.2% year-on-year to $14.2 billion, just ahead of a forecast of $14.1 billion, according to Refinitiv data.
The company said this was due to “pricing actions” and product “premiumization,” as sales rose by 0.9% over the period. Own-beer volumes were 0.4% higher, and non-beer volumes were up 3.6%.
AB InBev also owns brands including Beck’s, Corona and Stella Artois.
“The beer industry performance improved in 1Q23, demonstrating resilience even in the context of an ongoing inflationary environment,” the company said in its earnings statement.
Revenues from non-alcoholic beers were up by 30% in the quarter. The firm also said sales growth in its core beer portfolio was strong outside of the U.S., its biggest market, boosted by the return of consumer demand in China and continued growth in India.
Earlier this week, AB InBev’s rival Molson Coors told a similar story with its first-quarter results, beating profit forecasts as customers continued to buy its products despite higher prices.
In April — following the reporting period — AB InBev faced online backlash against its Bud Light brand after a brief social media partnership with a transgender influencer. Online personalities called for a boycott of the beer, while others said AB InBev did not show enough subsequent support for the TikTok star, Dylan Mulvaney.
Later in the month, the company said that it worked “with hundreds of influencers across our brands” as one of many ways to “authentically connect with audiences across various demographics.”
AB InBev shares rose 0.5% in early Thursday trade.