Parent companies SABMiller plc and Molson Coors Brewing Co. reported a 2.9 percent decline for Chicago-based MillerCoors to nearly $2.2 billion in total net sales during the second quarter. However, domestic net revenue per barrel, excluding contract brewing and company-owned distributor sales, increased 2.6 percent versus the same quarter in the prior year.
MillerCoors’ above-premium offerings grew in sales during the second quarter despite difficult trading conditions, but sales for its premium-light and economy segments were weak.
MillerCoors’ premium-light sales to retailers decreased high single digits in the quarter. Coors Light declined mid-single digits, yet continues to lead the premium-light segment in share growth by leveraging its “Rocky Mountain Cold Refreshment” positioning through advertising, innovation and promotions. Miller Lite declined high single digits. The launch of the new Miller Lite Pilsner Bottle has been well-received among retailers and consumers, the company says.
Tenth and Blake Beer Co. grew the MillerCoors craft and import portfolio by double digits. Leinenkugel’s Summer Shandy increased double digits as the brand continued its national expansion. Likewise, Blue Moon Belgian White grew high single digits in the quarter, continuing its run of 46 consecutive quarters of growth. Batch 19 more than doubled as it continued to expand nationally.
MillerCoors’ new expansion brands delivered strong growth in the above-premium segment. Redd's Apple Ale volume doubled versus the prior quarter, sourcing most of its sales from consumers who normally drink outside of the MillerCoors portfolio, the company says. Third Shift Amber Lager gained momentum behind strong distribution and increasing velocity trends, it adds.
MillerCoors’ premium-regular portfolio declined mid-single digits. Coors Banquet grew mid-single digits fueled by the June debut of the new 12-ounce “stubby” bottle modeled after the brand's post-Prohibition bottle. Coors Banquet’s continued growth was offset by declines in Miller Genuine Draft.
MillerCoors’ economy portfolio, including Miller High Life and Keystone Light, declined mid-single digits.
“This was a tough volume quarter for us and for the beer industry overall,” said MillerCoors Chief Executive Officer Tom Long in a statement. “Our strategy to evolve our portfolio to the fast-growing and higher-margin areas of the business is working, as shown by the successful launch of Redd’s Apple Ale and the nationwide expansion of Leinenkugel’s Summer Shandy. Thanks to these initiatives, as well as the introduction of Third Shift Amber Lager and continued growth of Blue Moon Belgian White, we have already grown our above-premium brand volumes to more than 9 percent of our portfolio in the quarter. While we continued to gain share in premium-lights according to Nielsen data, we are working hard to restore volume growth which we believe will come as the health of the category is defined by the premium-light performance.”