Corona Beer, Not Seltzer, Keeps Constellation Brands Growing

Beer continues to flow freely from the brewer. Net beer sales jumped 14% from the year-ago period driven by 10% gains in depletions, which were adjusted for an extra selling day in the quarter. Depletions are sales to distributors and retailers and are considered an industry proxy for consumer demand. Its Modelo Especial saw 12% depletion growth as it expanded upon its position as the top brand of the high-end beer category, while Constellation says it also became the No. 2 beer brand by dollar sales and the No. 1 brand in market share gains in the entire U.S. beer market. 

The Corona family of beer also continues to flex its muscles with depletions rising 7% in the quarter as Corona Premier and Corona Extra, the second biggest market share gainer according to the industry analysts at IRI, exhibited particular strength. While Corona Hard Seltzer also helped the category, there are questions about whether it can maintain its velocity.

Constellation launched its Corona Hard Seltzer last year as the hard seltzer market continued its exponential expansion, helped along in no small part by the pandemic that caused people to stock up on their favorite beverages while they were in lockdown mode. But a reopening economy could dent the brand’s continued rise.

According to data from Backbar, which bills itself as the largest inventory software provider for the restaurant and bar industry, Corona Hard Seltzer only has a 1.3% share of the on-premise market despite a $40 million marketing campaign. 

While bars and restaurants were closed for a good portion of the year because of the COVID-19 outbreak, Backbar says Corona didn’t gain the same kind of traction as Anheuser-Busch InBev‘s (NYSE:BUD) Bud Light Hard Seltzer, which now has a 10% share.

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