Constellation Brands has dismissed reports that its Corona brand is suffering during the coronavirus crisis, saying Corona sales are up 5%.
In January, Google Trends revealed a spike in searches for “Coronavirus beer”, “Corona virus beer” and “Corona beer virus”.
Last week, independent PR agency 5W Public Relations released findings of a survey that showed “16% of beer drinking Americans were confused about whether Corona beer is related to the coronavirus.”
5WPR CEO Ronn Torossian said: “There is no question that Corona beer is suffering because of the coronavirus. Could one imagine walking into a bar and saying ‘Hey, can I have a Corona?’ or ‘Pass me a Corona.’ While the brand has claimed that consumers understand there’s no linkage between the virus and the beer company, this is a disaster for the Corona brand. After all, what brand wants to be linked to a virus which is killing people worldwide?”
Corona sales nearly double 52-week trend
Constellation has addressed “unfounded concerns about the impact of the COVID-19 virus” on Corona sales and consumer sentiment related to the beer brand.
“Based on recent IRI retail trends, sales of Corona Extra remain strong, with dollar sales up 5% in the US per the latest four-week period ended February 16, nearly doubling the 52-week trend for the brand,” the company said.
“Similarly, depletion trends for Corona Extra for the first two months of this calendar year through February 26, as well as the month of February, have also outpaced their 52-week trend.
“In addition, IRI dollar sales trends for the entire Corona brand family are also outpacing their 52-week trend in the latest four-week and 12-week periods. Furthermore, all business units supporting our beer business are seeing positive sales trends for the brand thus far this calendar year.”
Bill Newlands, president and chief executive officer at Constellation Brands, added: “Our thoughts and prayers go out to those affected by this terrible virus and we hope efforts to more fully contain it gain traction soon.
“It’s extremely unfortunate that recent misinformation about the impact of this virus on our business has been circulating in traditional and social media without further investigation or validation. These claims simply do not reflect our business performance and consumer sentiment, which includes feedback from our distributor and retailer partners across the country. We’ve seen no impact to our people, facilities or operations and our business continues to perform very well.
“Unlike many of our competitors, sales of our beer brands are focused almost entirely on the US market. Our company does not have much exposure to international markets such as China that have been most impacted by this situation. I’m extremely proud of the efforts of our team. We’ve built good momentum as we gear up for the upcoming summer selling season.”