Heinekens Tecate Light is enjoying growth in the US market

Heineken's Tecate Light is enjoying growth in the US market

Mexican beer volumes in the US have remained strong in the three months to 21 May, while craft brands have seen their healthy growth rates slip back, according to recent figures.

In a round-up of Nielsen data for the three month period, Bernstein analyst Trevor Stirling said overall beer volumes in the US were down by 1.5% compared to the year-prior. 

"The slowdown in craft beer continues," said Stirling. "The top two craft brewers, Boston Beer and Sierra Nevada are now both in decline. Combined volumes for the top-12 craft brewers grew only 1% for the three months to May and, even excluding Boston Beer and Sierra Nevada, growth for the same period was only 5%." In May 2015, the top 12 posted around 15% growth. 

"Looking on a company-by-company basis, of the top 12 craft beer companies, only six have grown volumes at a double-digit pace over the past twelve months," added Stirling. "The three best-performing craft breweries - Ballast Point, Goose Island and Lagunitas - are all owned or part-owned by big brewers (Constellation, Anheuser-Busch InBev and Heineken, respectively)."

Meanwhile, the big Mexican brands are enjoying continued success in the market. Heineken's Tecate Light grew 31% in the three-month period, while Dos Equis grew 3%. Constellation Brands, Stirling noted, saw an 11% volume rise in the period, with Modelo Especial up 22% and Corona Extra posting 2% growth.

Heineken's core portfolio, however, delivered declines, "driven by weakness in Newcastle Brown Ale, Heineken Premium Light and Amstel," the analyst said. The Mexican boost was not enough to offset Heineken's overall portfolio performance, which was down 2.2%.

Earlier this year, Heineken revamped its Tecate brand in a bid to appeal to Millennial drinkers in the US market.