The US unit of A-B InBev is upping its focus on craft beer

The US unit of A-B InBev is upping its focus on craft beer

Anheuser-Busch is creating a new business unit aimed at boosting sales of its “high-end” craft style brands, with a focus on “urban” consumers. 

The US unit of Anheuser-Busch InBev, which announced the move internally yesterday, flagged that “high-end craft” and import brands “continue to generate an explosion of interest” in the country. The memo to staff from A-B’s CEO, Luiz Edmond, added: “We have tremendous opportunity to grow in this segment”. 

The "high-end" unit, to be based in Chicago, will be led by Felipe Szpigel, who has spent 15 years with the Budweiser brewer. Szpigel, currently A-B’s VP for trade marketing, will start fully in the role from October. 

A-B said it is basing the unit in Chicago so that it is in “closer touch with urban consumers, their way of thinking, lifestyle and the accounts they visit”.

Goose Island, the Chicago craft brewer A-B InBev acquired in 2011, and Blue Point, the New York state craft brewery the group bought earlier this year, will be part of the unit. 

Szpigel will build a team that includes “dedicated sales resources”, A-B said. 

In 2012, the brewer announced it was setting up a craft beer board to up its focus on the rapidly-expanding sub-category

Last week, A-B InBev reported a 20% rise in first-half net profits, helped by the FIFA World Cup and its acquisition of Grupo Modelo