AB InBev sales grow but Bud Light boycott continues to drag on US arm

Brewing giant AB InBev has revealed sales grew over the past quarter but its US business stumbled as Bud Light sales continued to be dented by a boycott.

The company, which also makes Stella Artois and Corona beers, said total revenues increased 2.6% over the first quarter of 2024, in line with analyst expectations.

It said this benefited from strong sales across its largest brands, led by a jump in sales for Corona.

However, the improvement in sales continued to be driven by higher pricing, with the volume of drinks sold by the company down 0.6% for the three-month period.

AB InBev said volumes dropped after growth in central America, South America, Africa and Europe was offset by decline in North America and Asia-Pacific.

In the US, the brewer saw revenues fall by 9.1% for the quarter.

The firm said sales to retailers were down 13.7% for the period, driven by a slump in volumes of Bud Light.

It follows a backlash among some Americans against the brand since spring last year, after transgender influencer Dylan Mulvaney promoted the beer on social media.

It led to a boycott of the brand which resulted in falling sales in the region over the year since.

Elsewhere, the company saw “high-single digit” revenue growth in Europe, driven by higher pricing and demand for more premium products.

Volume sales also increased as it benefited from an earlier Easter.

Michel Doukeris, chief executive of AB InBev, said: “The strength of the beer category, our diversified global footprint and the continued momentum of our megabrands delivered another quarter of broad-based, top and bottom-line growth.

“We are encouraged by our results to start the year, and the consistent execution by our teams and partners reinforces our confidence in delivering on our 2024 growth ambitions.”

The brewer reported that earnings before interest tax, depreciation and amortization were up 5.4% to 4.99 billion US dollars (£4 billion), against the same quarter last year.