World’s Largest Brewer Says Beer Is Flowing Again Post-COVID

World’s Largest Brewer: Beer Is Flowing Again

In what may be the strongest sign yet that COVID-19 has not wrought the end of Western Civilization, the brewer of Budweiser, Corona and Stella Artois said on Thursday (July 30) that sales were up in June 2020 compared to June 2019.

Anheuser-Busch InBev attributed the uptick to drinkers’ celebrations of the end of COVID-19 lockdowns, the Financial Times reported today.

The Belgium-based brewer said sales were up in other markets, prompting Simon Hales, an analyst at Citi, to tell the Financial Times: “It has been a long time since AB InBev has produced results [that] have beaten expectations in so many geographies.”

In second-quarter financial results released on Thursday, the company outlined just how hard COVID-19 hit beer consumption. The volume of beer sold in April was off 32.4 percent year over year, May volumes were off 21.4 percent and June volumes were up 0.7 percent.

In commentary accompanying the results, Anheuser-Busch InBev wrote, “Our U.S. business performed well in the second quarter even in the face of continued industry pressure and volatility caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, primarily due to the continued implementation of our commercial strategy. We leveraged the learnings from our global colleagues, as well as data and analytics, to quickly and efficiently adapt our operations to continue supplying the market and effectively address changing consumer needs.”

The company also summed up the overall decline in its core business, writing in Thursday’s earnings report: “During 2Q20, we reported a $2.5 billion USD non-cash goodwill impairment charge. The COVID-19 pandemic resulted in a sharp contraction of sales during 2Q20 in many countries in which we operate. We concluded that a triggering event occurred, which required us to perform an impairment test. The impairment test considered three scenarios for recovery of sales for the tested cash-generating units: a base case, which we deem to be the most likely case, a best-case and a worst-case. Based on the results of the impairment test, we concluded that no impairment was warranted under the base and best-case scenarios.”