Anheuser-Busch InBev is investing $15.5m to upgrade bottling lines from packed to bulk glass at its Fort Collins brewery in the US state of Colorado. 

The move is expected to streamline production, strengthen the supply chain, and reduce emissions.

AB InBev said the lines at the Fort Collins brewery are set to be fully operational by mid-2024. 

Brendan Whitworth, the CEO of AB InBev’s Anheuser-Busch arm, said: “This investment in our Fort Collins brewery not only drives efficiencies for our business and improves the capabilities of our facility, but it also puts Anheuser-Busch in a unique position to build on our industry-leading support for our employees with on-the-job education and growth opportunities for our frontline workers.” 

In February, staff at the brewer’s US facilities struck a deal with the Budweiser maker for better wages and benefits.

Two months earlier, unionised AB InBev workers had voted to authorise a strike at breweries across the country.

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Teamsters said it had reached a five-year agreement with AB InBev that covers roughly 5,000 members.

Earlier this month, the company again reported a decline in its volume sales in the US but the brewing giant pointed to the gains made by Michelob Ultra and Busch Light.

In the three months to the end of March, AB InBev’s volumes in North America fell by 9.9% on an organic basis.

First-quarter revenue from the brewer’s North American operations was down 8.8% organically at $3.56bn.

In the US specifically, AB InBev’s revenue declined 9.1%, although the Budweiser owner said revenue per hectolitre was up 1.1% “driven by revenue management initiatives”.

In 2023, AB InBev’s revenue in the US dropped 9.5%. Revenue per hectolitre was up 5.2%.

First-quarter sales-to-wholesalers declined by 10.1%. Sales-to-retailers were down by 13.7%, a drop it attributed “primarily” to the continued lower volumes of Bud Light, which has seen sales hit since the row over a tie-up with transgender influencer Dylan Mulvaney in April last year. EBITDA from the country was down 17.9%.

In 2023, AB InBev’s sales-to-wholesalers decreased 12.7%. Sales-to-retailers were down 11.9%. EBITDA slid 23.4%.

Speaking to investors yesterday (8 May), CEO Michel Doukeris stressed the company’s share of the US market “has continued to improve gradually from May 2023 with total market share now flat versus last year”.