Anheuser-Busch InBev took over Corona last year

Anheuser-Busch InBev took over Corona last year

The head of  Anheuser-Busch InBev has said the brewer is “taking very careful steps” as it transfers Grupo Modelo's Corona brand into its global distribution network.

The brand, which A-B InBev acquired when it took full control of Modelo last year, will launch within the brewer's distribution system in Canada on Saturday. But, in a conference call today (26 February) after the release of A-B InBev's full-year results, Carlos Brito said that a roll-out in Brazil will wait untill after this Summer's FIFA World Cup tournament.

“We feel that doing it now, it wouldn’t really give justice to the brand,” the CEO said.

Under Modelo, Corona was distributed through a network of local distribution contracts, which Brito said must be honoured before A-B InBev's in-house system can take over.

Meanwhile, Brito said a big ramp-up in marketing spend this year will help target the “beer-centric” World Cup.

A-B InBev has predicted its sales and marketing costs in 2014 will increase in percentage terms by about mid-teens, compared to a 4.5% rise last year. The jump equates to about US$800m.

Brito said: “It's only every four years you have a World Cup and, because we are a big sponsor and because the World Cup is a beer-centric event - especially this time as it's in Brazil - we decided to make this a huge event.”

Brito said most of the World Cup marketing budget will be used in Brazil.

A-B InBev is the only alcohol sponsor of the World Cup through its Budweiser brand. The brewer has partnered with the event since 1986, and last week unveiled a global World Cup marketing plan for Budweiser, including a golden, aluminium, 16oz bottle.