Ah, the weather. These days it seems to have more of an impact on the corporate bottom line than ever before. The ready-made excuse has become ubiquitous: too dry for umbrella sales, too wet for back-to-school shopping, too hot for one thing, too cool for another. Certainly there are many cases when weather can and does play a major role -- a relentless barrage of hurricanes in Florida comes to mind -- but all too often a shortfall in sales is conveniently written off to meteorological causes.
Anheuser-Busch also announced new products that are expected to hit shelves soon, such as Bacardi Green Apple, the newest addition to the Bacardi Silver line. Also, in select markets, expect to find Michelob inside 16-ounce aluminum bottles. As predicted recently by Dave Marino-Nachison, the new packaging concept follows a similar decision by Pittsburgh Brewing to team up with Alcoa
Third-quarter shipments to retailers are tracking 1.2% below last year's pace, though year-to-date sales are still fractionally higher. More importantly, the pricing environment remains favorable, and Anheuser-Busch will be "initiating selective pricing actions," meaning two rounds of price increases are on tap for the next two quarters.
Strategic alliances with Tsingtao and Harbin, China's largest and fourth-largest brewers, give the firm a solid foothold in the fast-growing Chinese market, the world's largest as measured by volume. The firm also has a 50% stake in Mexico's king of beers, Grupo Modelo, producer of the ever-popular Corona brand.
With volumes in the domestic market slowly crawling around 1% annually, Anheuser-Busch is relying on the international front to help spur growth. Despite a modest slowdown during the summer, Anheuser-Busch's overall volume is on track, consumers are increasingly picking up trendier (and pricier) Michelob products, and yesterday's outlook suggests the company is closing in on a 24th consecutive quarter of double-digit earnings increases.
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Fool contributor Nathan Slaughter owns none of the companies mentioned.