Please ensure Javascript is enabled for purposes of website accessibility

How to Invest in Beer

By Demitri Kalogeropoulos - Oct 23, 2017 at 7:03AM

You’re reading a free article with opinions that may differ from The Motley Fool’s Premium Investing Services. Become a Motley Fool member today to get instant access to our top analyst recommendations, in-depth research, investing resources, and more. Learn More

Here are two great stock choices for investors looking to profit from one of world's oldest industries.

There may be dozens of beer varieties available at your local alcoholic-beverage store, but you see nearly as many choices when deciding among beer stocks to purchase. In fact, just a few public companies, mainly Anheuser Busch InBev (BUD 2.10%) and Molson Coors, dominate the global industry today.

Investors can stick with one of those titans or branch out into the much smaller craft-beer specialist Boston Beer. There's also the attractive option of buying Constellation Brands (STZ 1.02%), which is focused on the premium -- and high-growth -- segment of the market.

Two men toasting with bottled beers in a club

Image source: Getty Images.

Below, I'll highlight a few of these major beer stocks to add to your watch list.

Top beer stocks


Market Capitalization

Sales Growth

Dividend Yield

Anheuser Busch InBev

$213 billion



Constellation Brands

$41 billion



Molson Coors

$18 billion



Boston Beer

$2 billion



Sales growth is over the past complete fiscal year. Data sources: Company financial filings and S&P Global Market Intelligence.

Buy Anheuser-Busch InBev for stability

The average American household spends over $500 each year on alcoholic beverages, according to government statistics. The dominant market position of Anheuser Busch InBev ensures that it gets far more than its fair share of that spending, though. After all, Bud Light is the best-selling beer in the U.S., responsible for over half of all sales in the premium light beer segment.

Sure, AB InBev's massive size means that shareholders aren't likely to see robust sales growth in any given year. However, investors get several important benefits in exchange for that potential drawback. AB InBev has a uniquely global sales footprint, for example, with just over half of its revenue coming from emerging markets. These include areas like China and the African continent that boast attractive long-term growth opportunities tied to their rising middle classes.

AB InBev is also a solid dividend stock, given that its 3% yield is far above rival Molson Coors and is well covered by its healthy cash flow.

Buy Constellation Brands for growth

If you're looking for faster growth, consider Constellation Brands. This alcoholic-beverage giant looks a bit like Boston Beer did when it was riding the wave of craft-beer popularity back in 2013 and 2014. Only instead of craft beverages, Constellation Brands is benefiting from surging interest for premium imported drinks. It owns the U.S. rights to sell Corona, the most popular import on the market.

A glass of beer sitting on a table in front of a television

Image source: Getty Images.

Thanks to that franchise, and the booming Modelo franchise, Constellation Brands' beer volume is growing at a 10% pace this year while most of its competitors face declines. The company is finding plenty of room to raise prices amid all that rising demand, too. Its operating margin is up nearly 10 full percentage points since 2013, to over 30% of sales today.

The company is investing heavily to lay the groundwork for future growth. It is slated to spend $1 billion just this year on capacity upgrades for its Mexican breweries, as part of a $4 billion capital improvement plan. That spending hasn't left much excess capital to send to shareholders in the form of dividends. However, it's likely the payout will surge when expansion spending slows next year and the company passes $1 billion in annual free cash flow -- up from about $500 million last year -- beginning in fiscal 2019.

Sure, Constellation Brands is more expensive than AB InBev on a price-to-sales basis. But for investors seeking market-beating sales and profit growth, it represents a great way to gain exposure to the most attractive niches in the beer industry today.

Invest Smarter with The Motley Fool

Join Over 1 Million Premium Members Receiving…

  • New Stock Picks Each Month
  • Detailed Analysis of Companies
  • Model Portfolios
  • Live Streaming During Market Hours
  • And Much More
Get Started Now

Stocks Mentioned

Constellation Brands, Inc. Stock Quote
Constellation Brands, Inc.
$235.43 (1.02%) $2.37
Anheuser-Busch InBev SA/NV Stock Quote
Anheuser-Busch InBev SA/NV
$55.08 (2.10%) $1.13

*Average returns of all recommendations since inception. Cost basis and return based on previous market day close.

Related Articles

Motley Fool Returns

Motley Fool Stock Advisor

Market-beating stocks from our award-winning analyst team.

Stock Advisor Returns
S&P 500 Returns

Calculated by average return of all stock recommendations since inception of the Stock Advisor service in February of 2002. Returns as of 07/04/2022.

Discounted offers are only available to new members. Stock Advisor list price is $199 per year.

Premium Investing Services

Invest better with The Motley Fool. Get stock recommendations, portfolio guidance, and more from The Motley Fool's premium services.