Corona owner Constellation Brands is raising a glass to its beer sales and operating profit rising 7.4% and 11.7% respectively in the first quarter of 2020.
Constellation’s beer portfolio includes Corona, Modelo Especial, Negra Modelo, and Pacífico, as well as Ballast Point and Funky Buddha.
The company said shipment volume growth was above its expectations in the quarter, fuelled by interest in premium options such as Modelo and new lower carb Corona Premier.
“Our iconic beer portfolio continues to be a cornerstone of growth in the US beer industry,” said Constellation CEO Bill Newlands in a statement.
He was more ebullient in an interview with Yahoo Finance, declaring: “Beer [drinking] is not dead.”
“Our beer business is performing well,” he added. “I think one of the key reasons around it is our share of voice and advertising. We are spending more on advertising year on year against our business. But not everyone in the category is doing that. So our share of voice with beer drinking consumers is going up.”
Nielsen data shows Constellation Brands’ overall beer portfolio sales for the 52 weeks ended June 15 increased 10.6%, ranking it first in terms of growth among all its rivals in the beer industry.
However, overall sales for the beer category fell 0.1%, with AB InBev, Miller Coors, Heineken, Pabst, and Boston Beer saw sales decline during the past 52 weeks.
Corona is also performing particularly well in the Millennial market, which has been turning away from beer towards spirits and no-alcohol options.
In an analyst call, Newland noted: “During the first quarter, the Constellation beer business continued to gain share with growth across all channels, driving one-third of the growth of the high-end US beer market.”
He said on-premise was also yielding results far better for Constellation than its competitors.
“Our on-premise business we see as being up mid single-digits for our overall beer portfolio compared to an industry that’s probably off low-single digits.
“So we certainly are outperforming and we’re seeing an excellent uptick of 20% plus in Modelo draft as an example, which obviously occurs entirely through the on-premise arena.”
Newland outlined extensive advertising and branding campaigns planned for the coming months for its beer brands, including Corona Premier’s new multi-year sponsorship deal with the United States Golf Association as a supporter of the US Open.
“So our share of voice within the beer category will be up during this summer selling season and we are very optimistic that Corona is going to be an important part of our growth profile acknowledging that we are 30 years and counting on our double-digit growth with Modelo and we’re off to an amazing start this year,” he concluded.