It's a big week for beer in the US this week, with the largest players, MillerCoors and Anheuser-Busch InBev, set to update the market on their recent performances. The brewers' third quarter results, which will be released on Wednesday (3 November), should help us to gauge the accuracy of anecdotal evidence of an improvement in the sector.
“We expect continued EBIT margin expansion despite relative top-line sluggishness,” said analyst group Sanford Bernstein in a note on Anheuser-Busch InBev today. It said that the Budweiser brewer's results in the US would be driven by cost savings, but should also show a slower pace of beer market decline.
Last week, Heineken reaffirmed the importance of beer markets beyond the boundaries of Europe and North America for growth. Heineken continued to suffer in much of Europe, especially Russia, but its part-owned unit in India, United Breweries, motored through the quarter.
The only slight surprise was that Heineken's FEMSA Cerveza lost volumes in Mexico, although this reflected a general decline in the country's beer market. It is too soon, then, to pass judgement on Heineken's investment there.
As for the other sectors of our industry, last week saw us run our interview with the global marketing director for Concha y Toro, Giancarlo Bianchetti, while you soft drinks and water movers and shakers may be interested to read Annette Farr's take on what India has to offer you. Last, but not least, spirits folk can fill their boots with news that Diageo plans to trim its costs in developed markets to help it focus on growing ones going forward.
Finally, if you had a shave this morning, gentlemen, then you are perfectly-placed to join in this year's Movember campaign. To raise awareness for prostate cancer, men around the world - including yours truly - are growing moustaches from scratch in the month of November. Along with several leading lights in the drinks industry, I'll be joining the 'Mo'-clan' and, each Friday, we'll report back on our progress, with photographic evidence.
If you'd like to join our gang, email me at email@example.com, and work that Mo'.
Until next time...