A-B InBev is turning its attention increasingly to the craft beer segment

A-B InBev is turning its attention increasingly to the craft beer segment

Anheuser-Busch InBev is convinced that large brewers like itself can play a bigger role in the US craft beer segment, an analyst has reported. 

Speaking at a company investor day in New York today (14 November), the group’s North America chief Luiz Edmond reportedly said that the company is focussing on four areas in craft: seasonal, IPA, dark lager and American lager. Edmond said that A-B InBev’s Belgian wheat beer Shock is growing quickly, while Goose Island is now distributed in 50,000 US outlets, a note from analysts Nomura said. 

The US premium segment is now 49% of the industry, A-B InBe noted, and has premiumised its core brands. The brewer flagged that the core Budweiser brand is in decline, but Black Crown is “moderating” that decline. The “high-end” beer segment represents 18% of the industry and is growing. 

A year ago A-B InBev set up a craft beer advisory board to focus its attention on the US' still growing craft beer segement - now 7% of the country's total beer market. The advisory board includes John Hall, the founder of Goose Island, which A-B InBev acquired for US$38.8m in early 2011

The Brewers Association also last year accused global beer companies of trying to “blur the lines” between their products and "genuine" craft beers.

CEO Carlos Brito earlier today noted that the company is “bullish” on its longer term prospects in the US, despite admitting the market has been challenged, Nomura said.