US: A-B sees InBev portfolio suffer "disruptions"

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Anheuser-Busch has admitted that it has suffered "supply disruptions" to the InBev portfolio in the US.

The brewer, speaking to just-drinks yesterday (11 June) conceded that it had had problems with supply in the country, but noted that it hoped the disruption was "only short-term".

The two brewers secured a deal in December, making Anheuser-Busch the exclusive distributor for a number of InBev's premium European brewers in the country.

"When we started the agreement, only 14% of our wholesalers carried the InBev portfolio," A-B's vice president of business operations, Dave Peacock, told just-drinks. "Today, that is now up to 60%.

"The speed of the wholesaler transition has created supply issues," Peacock conceded.

"Since the beginning of May, these supply issues have been hampered further by problems with packaging material, namely glass and beer kegs. Supply has been very tight, but we're working with InBev to do whatever is necessary to rectify this. We are trying to provide as much flexibility as we can."

When asked how long the situation is expected to continue, Peacock was keen to emphasise that improvements have come through in the last few weeks. "It's only a short-term issue," he said. "The deal between the two of us is for 20-plus years. Consumers and retailers obviously want (the InBev) brands.

"We're confident that this short-term issue will be rectified soon," he added.

From February, A-B began importing, selling, promoting and distributing Stella Artois, Beck's, Bass Pale Ale, Hoegaarden, Leffe and other selected InBev brands in the US. InBev's Canadian brands, including Labatt Blue and Labatt Blue Light, as well as Brahma, were not included in the agreement, and continue to be marketed and sold by InBev USA.

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