Heineken sales elevated as beer drinkers brush off price increases
Brewer Heineken has seen beer sales leap in the first half of the year, despite growing pressures on consumers’ budgets.
The drinks behemoth had seen “demand resilient until now despite mounting inflationary pressures on consumers’ disposable income,” according to Heineken chairman and CEO Dolf Van Den Brink.
However, the brewer warned increasing costs meant it was scrapping its margins target for 2023, now aiming for a mid-to high single-digit percentage increase in operating profit.
Beer volume increased 7.6 per cent in the first half, with sales accelerating in the second quarter as areas in the Asia-Pacific region recovered from Covid lockdowns.
Sales also saw a rebound in the Americas and Europe, as punters continued to flock back to bars and restaurants after pandemic restrictions eased.
Amstel lager sales grew “double-digits” in the UK while Birra Moretti sales also saw “particularly strong momentum” in the country.
Last week, Johnnie Walker maker Diageo posted net sales of £15.5bn, an increase of 21.4 per cent, which it accredited to the pub and bar sector recovering from the side effects of Covid 19 lockdowns.
Heineken rival and the world’s largest brewer AB InBev also posted EBITDA up 7.2 per cent for the second quarter, beating analyst expectations.
The Corona brewer put the boost down to the scrapping of lockdown restrictions in key markets and noted a double-digit percentage boost to profit in Latin American markets, including Brazil, Colombia, Mexico.
However, the brewer said volumes in North America and Europe were slightly lower, with European profits still elevated versus a year prior.
Many drinkers have been opting for pricer premium beers, despite the cost of living crunch, the brewer added.
AB InBev chief executive Michel Doukeris anticipated that costs for next year would not see as sharp of an increase as in 2022, Reuters reported.
“We always talk this idea that beer is an affordable luxury, especially premium beers. I think people are trading out or trading down much more in other categories at this moment than in beverage, than in beer. Beer remains very resilient,” he added.