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4th of July Fireworks Fizzled Later in Mo; 4-Wk Volume Up 0.7% in Nielsen Scans, $$ Up 2.4%

Jul was okay mo for beer, certainly better than very soft Jun, meh May.  But after strong high-singles $$ gain in Jul 4 week, sales went flat to down later in month, Nielsen all-outlet scans show, Goldman Sachs’ Judy Hong reported this morn.  In cut of data we see, volume up 0.7% for 4 wks thru Jul 29, $$ up 2.4%.  Recall, Jun volume down 3.3%, $$ down 1.7%.  With May sales soft too, no sizzle so far in summer of ’17.

Beer drinkers didn’t buy much more beer in Jul, but they continued to trade up.  And looks like some traded down.  Import, craft and FMB volume each up mid-singles and superpremiums up 12.5%, as Mich Ultra actually ratcheted up in Jul (+24%).  So above premium segments nabbed additional 2.1 share of volume in Jul, 2.5 share of $$.  At same time, economy volume matched 0.7% overall gain.  So economy held volume share for 4 wks and yr-to date.  Means all of above premium volume share gains comin’ from premium.  Premium light trends did improve in Jul.  Bud Light -5.8%, vs -9.4% in Jun.  Coors Light -3%, vs -6.7% in Jun.  Miller Lite off just 0.8% in Jul, vs -5.4% previous mo.  Bud improved to -6% from -9.3%.  All in, MC reduced dropoff pace to 0.8% in Jul, about half of AB’s 1.7% drop.  Constellation truckin’ along at +11.9% for 4 wks and yr-to-date.  HUSA trends about the same, down 1-2%.  Boston up in Jul; still -4.8% for 7 mos.  Mike’s and Diageo each up double-digits in Jul.  NAB and Pabst each up too for the mo (data excludes NYFRB from Pabst total), tho each down slightly YTD.

INSIGHTS Express, Vol 19, No 149; August 8, 2017


Imports Stayed Soft in Jun; Up Just 41K Bbls, 0.2% for 1st Half; Mexican Mystery Continues   

We keep expecting solid pop in import shipments given 6-7% gains in scan data.  It keeps not happening.  Import shipments edged up just 17K bbls, 0.5% in Jun, reports Beer Inst economist Michael Uhrich based on Commerce Dept data.  Mexican shipments trend improved slightly, but only very slightly: up 2.7% in Jun.  That’s far better than 5.2% drop in Dutch shipments, 8.5% decline in Canadian shipments and big fall in Belgian shipments.  Belgian decline offset by big German gain, again suggesting lotsa Stella being shipped thru Germany.  For 6 mos, imports up an anemic 41K bbls, 0.2%.  Mexican shipments up just 54K bbls, 0.5%, way behind Constellation’s trend.  That suggests possibility of reporting/inventory issues.  Dutch shipments off 39K bbls, 1.6% for 6 mos.  Canadian shipments down 34K bbls, 4.6%.  Irish and UK shipments down 4% and 19% respectively.   While reported Belgian shipments down 223K bbls, 24%, that’s more than offset by 257K-bbl, 85% increase from Germany.  With imports so soft in Q2 (-2%) and flat for 6 mos, suggests total US shipments off about 1.4 mil bbls, 1.3% Jan-Jun.  We’ll have details in next week’s BMI.    

INSIGHTS Express, Vol 19, No 148; August 4, 2017