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Beer sales heat up ahead of July 4th holiday

·Anchor, Editor-at-Large
·3 min read
In this article:
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While there continues to be so much focus on the still hot hard seltzer market, it's good old-fashioned beer sales that arguably deserve some more attention as the demand for suds picks back up amid the reopening of bars and restaurants from the depths of the COVID-19 pandemic.

"On-premise draft beer trends continue to improve," pointed out Goldman Sachs analyst Jason English in a note on Thursday looking at re-opening trends in the U.S. economy. To make his observation, English's team sliced and diced new data out of tech insights company BeerBoard. The outfit's technology assesses about $1 billion in bar sales and 60,000 products across the U.S.

English found that the percent of locations open and pouring beer stood at 92% for the weekend of June 17 to 20, up from 90% in January. The percentage of taps pouring beer ticked up to 71% for the weekend, up from 70% in the two weekends prior. Total volume of beer served per location rose 1% sequentially nationwide.

That said, the industry has a ways to go to recover fully from the pandemic even with trends moving in the right direction. Total beer volume per location for the weekend of June 17 to 20 remained 36% lower than the same weekend in 2019 (aka, pre-COVID data), English notes.

There is other incremental evidence on the pick-up in beer sales, too. 

MIAMI, FL - JANUARY 31:  Six packs of Anheuser-Busch's Budweiser and Grupo Modelo's Corona Extra beers sit on a shelf at the Chandi Wine and spirits store on January 31, 2013 in Miami, Florida. Federal authorities filed a lawsuit January 31, to stop the Anheuser-Busch InBev's $20.1 billion takeover of Grupo Modelo.  (Photo  by Joe Raedle/Getty Images)
MIAMI, FL - JANUARY 31: Six packs of Anheuser-Busch's Budweiser and Grupo Modelo's Corona Extra beers sit on a shelf at the Chandi Wine and spirits store on January 31, 2013 in Miami, Florida. Federal authorities filed a lawsuit January 31, to stop the Anheuser-Busch InBev's $20.1 billion takeover of Grupo Modelo. (Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images)

Constellation Brands — maker of Corona and Modelo beer —said Wednesday it saw first quarter beer shipment volumes rise 11.3% from a year ago. Sales and operating profits for the company's beer sales rose 14% and 16%, respectively, powered by Modelo, Corona and Pacifico. 

"We are very excited on how it [beer business] has gone so far. Our depletions in our first quarter in the on-premise channel were up 250% versus last year," Constellation Brands CEO Bill Newlands said on Yahoo Finance Live. "We still think there is a long way to go and a lot of opportunity [in beer] as people begin to get out really decide how they are going to engage and in what channels they are going to make their purchases."

In a show of confidence in beer demand, Constellation reiterated its 2021 beer sales growth projection of 7% to 9%. 

Analysts have confidence Constellation could meet what is likely an ongoing rise in beer demand at bars into year end. 

"While the near-term outlook does entail a degree of uncertainty with recovery, Constellation's proven capability in beer execution and consistently robust consumer/distributor demand for its products gives us confidence in the company's ability to make up for lost ground from recent beer shipment constraints over the remainder of the year and into FY23," said Deutsche Bank analyst Steve Powers.

Unfortunately for investors, the beer trade has been anything but tasty as market goers fret about the pace of recovery for bars, inflationary effects and supply chain challenges. 

The best performing beer stock in 2021 is Molson Coors, up roughly 19%. Constellation is up 6%, Budweiser is up a paltry 2% and Boston Beer is down 2%.

Brian Sozzi is an editor-at-large and anchor at Yahoo Finance. Follow Sozzi on Twitter @BrianSozzi and on LinkedIn.

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