Alongside our daily news coverage, features and interviews, the Just Drinks news team sifts through the week’s most intriguing data sets to bring you a roundup of the week in numbers.

This week, we took a look at AB InBevs sales as the US continues to lag, examined the largest US grocery retailers’ sales as two of them attempt to merge and delved into Italy’s wine exports as the country calls for diversification.

Anheuser-Busch InBev rounds out 2023 with continued pressure on US sales

Anheuser-Busch InBev (AB InBev) ended 2023 with continued pressure on US sales following last year’s fallout from its failed Bud Light partnership with Dylan Mulvaney.

This week, Michel Doukeris, CEO of the US brewing giant, told analysts he expected to see growth slowly come back quarter-by-quarter in 2024, though “quarter one will be still lapping a little bit of the US Bud Light situation”.

In the group’s fourth quarter, revenue declined by 17% in the US, due to the decline of Bud Light. EBITDA dropped by 34%.

Group volumes were down 2.6% in the three months. The weakness was driven by North America, where volumes fell 15.3%.

How well do you really know your competitors?

Access the most comprehensive Company Profiles on the market, powered by GlobalData. Save hours of research. Gain competitive edge.

Company Profile – free sample

Thank you!

Your download email will arrive shortly

Not ready to buy yet? Download a free sample

We are confident about the unique quality of our Company Profiles. However, we want you to make the most beneficial decision for your business, so we offer a free sample that you can download by submitting the below form

By GlobalData
Visit our Privacy Policy for more information about our services, how we may use, process and share your personal data, including information of your rights in respect of your personal data and how you can unsubscribe from future marketing communications. Our services are intended for corporate subscribers and you warrant that the email address submitted is your corporate email address.

For the full twelve months, AB InBev’s total volumes declined 1.7% as growth in its “Middle Americas”, Africa and Asia Pacific businesses was primarily offset by the performance in the US and a softening industry in Europe.

Kroger, Albertsons sales dwarfed by Walmart in 2022

US retailer Walmart’s food and grocery sales exceeded those of a combined Kroger and Albertsons by more than $100bn in 2022, data shows.

Kroger and Albertsons, which are trying to merge, pulled in $112.3bn and $68.5bn in sales respectively, compared to $288.1bn at Walmart.

This week, US competition officials at the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) moved to block their planned merger, arguing the transaction would be to the detriment of the retailers’ staff and customers.

The FTC said the combined retailer would have “more leverage to impose sub-par terms” on employees, the regulator asserted. Consumers would face higher grocery prices and the enlarged retailer would have less “incentive to compete on quality”.

In September last year, the two retailers set out a plan to sell more than 400 stores to C&S Wholesale Grocers to secure regulatory approval for the transaction.

The FTC said the proposal was “inadequate” and amounted to “a hodgepodge of unconnected stores, banners, brands, and other assets that Kroger’s antitrust lawyers have cobbled together”. The planned disposals “fall far short of mitigating the lost competition between Kroger and Albertsons”.

Impact of Trump-era tariffs on US spirits revealed

US spirits exports are beginning to recover from Trump-era tariffs, data shows.

The value of US spirits exports rose 8% in 2023 after the EU suspended tariffs on goods including American whiskey, according to a report by the Distilled Spirits Council of the United States (DISCUS).

Exports, of which whiskey forms the majority, jumped 9% in 2023 to a record-high $1.4bn, the trade body reported.

The suspension of the 25% charge on US whiskey and Bourbon imports into the EU and UK – which was extended recently until after the US Presidential election – has led the exports of whiskey to the EU to surge by over 60% since 2021, reaching $705m in 2023.

“This latest report shows that US exports are continuing to rebuild after plummeting from the devastating retaliatory tariffs on American spirits imposed by the EU and UK,” said Rob Maron, DISCUS vice president of international trade.

Italian wine exports decline in largest markets

Italy’s wine exports to four of the country’s top-five largest markets declined in 2023, data shows.

The value of shipments to the US, Canada, Japan and the UK slid in 2023 compared to 2022 according to data published by the Unione Italiana Vini (UIV).

Only Germany grew, seeing a 7% rise in value.

The five countries account for 56% of Italian wine exports combined.

It comes as this week the head of Italy’s wine trade body called on the country’s producers to diversify their export markets.

“It is undeniable that 2023 suffered from economic phenomena, especially the destocking of excess accumulated product in North America,” UIV president Lamberto Frescobaldi said, “but it is equally true that our country has a primary and no longer postponable need to expand the customer base: these five countries represent almost 60% of the value of Italian exports, compared to 50% in France and 40% in Spain.”