Sales of Alcohol Are Up From Last Year, Goldman Sachs Reports

Constellation Brands’ portfolio continues to grow at a solid pace, up 16% overall and up 38% for the Modelo brand, survey finds
beer cans
Photograph: Shutterstock

Alcohol and flavored malt beverage sales are shaping up to perform better than last year with Constellation Brands, Los Angeles, and Coors Beverage Co., Chicago, expected to be the frontrunners. Distributors overall are still not seeing Bud Light trends improve following its toppling at No. 1, but two-thirds of distributors are optimistic Bud Light can recover some lost market share.

This is the outlook from New York-based Goldman Sachs’ most recent Beverage Bytes survey, which represents about 170,000 retail locations or about 30% of the total U.S. outlets that sell alcohol.

Highlights for alcohol beverages

  • Beer and flavored-malt beverage sales showed 8% of distributors indicating trends were much stronger while 57% noted sales were in-line versus a year ago, Goldman Sachs’ survey noted.
  • One distributor notes that Constellation Brands’ portfolio continues to grow at a solid pace, up 16% overall and up 38% for the Modelo brand as a whole. Large retailers are starting to really get behind the Modelo brand as they begin to recognize the strength of the franchise, according to Goldman Sachs.
  • Modelo Especial is showing strong momentum as well the survey says as it continues to be a frontrunner of Constellation Brands’ beer franchise. Distributors reported Constellation Brands’ volumes are picking up steam month-to-month with 46% indicating trends were very strong in February, up from 42% in January and 34% in December, according to Goldman Sachs.

The Beverage Bytes survey also examined the implications of the Bud Light controversy with a majority of distributors (67%) saying they are still not seeing trends improve. Last year, Bud Light faced boycotts after an Instagram post in April 2023 from Dylan Mulvaney, a transgender influencer, with a customized Bud Light can to promote a contest.

Nearly a quarter (24%) of distributors don’t expect Bud Light to recover any share lost as a result of the controversy.

Most distributors aren’t surprised Bud Light hasn’t regained more share so far and see the brand’s recovery more of a marathon than a sprint, according to Goldman Sachs.

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