AB InBev beer sales drop as US jobs market and rainy Brazil take their toll

ANHEUSER-BUSCH InBev, the world’s largest brewer, suffered its first drop in beer sales for a year and half as price hikes, rain in Brazil and high US unemployment deterred drinkers.

However, the maker of Budweiser, Stella Artois and Beck’s said it expected volumes to improve from the second-quarter and forecast continued benefits from price rises carried out in its main US and Brazilian markets at the end of last year. First-quarter overall group shipments fell 0.4 per cent on a like-for-like basis, the first decline for the company since the third-quarter of 2009 and against market expectations of a slight increase.

The Belgium-based brewer said high unemployment reduced volumes in the United States, while heavy rain kept growth to a minimum in Brazil.

Beer consumption typically rises in warm and sunny weather.