Shop Talk

Retailers, consumers and prices

World Cup soccer hits home-run in U.S. bars

SOCCER-WORLD/From our correspondent Nivedita Bhattacharjee:

Surprised at the roar from the bar around the corner on an otherwise normal work day in New York City? Don’t be. It’s the FIFA World Cup, and that pub’s full of people rooting for team USA.

As a record number of U.S. viewers tune in to experience the 90-minute soccer matches, bars and taverns from New York to San Francisco are doing all that they can to keep the cheers loud and the beers flowing. And even while at work, some Americans are letting daily tasks idle while they keep score.

Anthony was watching Friday’s nail-biter match between the United States and Slovenia at the Irish Rogue Bar with a friend who had taken a break from work.

“Everyone’s watching it in the city … It’s cool because it’s only once every four years, and unlike the Olympics, there’s only one single country that wins,” he said. “It’s definitely catching … it’s 11 o’clock in the morning and we’re sitting at a bar for the match.”

Check Out Line: Clink, clink! Wine consumption to rise


wine1Check out all the wine drinking going on.

Two-thirds (67 percent) of Americans surveyed said they partake in wine on holidays and special occasions while at home, while another 58 percent drink wine at home with dinner on an ordinary night, according to consumer trend tracker Mintel.

The wine market has grown 20 percent from 2004 through 2009 despite the recession, but at the peak of the slowdown in 2008 it declined 3.2 percent, Mintel said. With consumers slowly feeling better about the economy, the firm expects the wine market to increase by 2.1 percent this year.

Check Out Line: This Bud’s for you, NYSE


bud1Check out the return of the “BUD” stock trading symbol.

Anheuser-Busch InBev shares will start trading in New York on Wednesday as U.S.-listed shares, or American Depositary Receipts under the former Anheuser-Busch symbol, a nod to its Budweiser beer label. The return to the New York Stock Exchange comes 10 months after Belgium’s InBev acquired the iconic U.S. brewer and moved its primary stock listing to Belgium.

Anheuser-Busch InBev was formed late last year when InBev, the Belgian maker of Stella Artois and Beck’s, bought St. Louis-based Anheuser for $52 billion to create the world’s largest brewer. Since then, the company announced plans to open an office in New York and has begun reporting quarterly results in U.S. dollars, signaling a greater interest in the U.S. equity market, analysts said.

from Raw Japan:

Cheap brews soothe econ blues

Cheap beer-like drinks are in fashion as suds lovers try to hold onto their daily treat while saving money to ride out tough economic times. Sales of these drinks have been very strong and beer makers are aggressively marketing their products, all of which is just going to further dent the market share of beer, which has been in steady decline for years.

Nowadays, a 350ml can of regular beer will set you back about 210 yen ($2.20) in Japan, while low-malt "beer-like drinks" go for around 130 yen. 

Constellation’s holiday drink sales less than stellar – CEO


FOSTERS/With so many forecasters talking about the 2008 holiday season in extremes (the weakest since 1970, one of the worst in modern times), it’s refreshing to hear an executive suggest that, ok, things were not great, but they weren’t horrible either.

That assessment came on Wednesday from Rob Sands, chief executive of Constellation Brands, when the world’s largest wine producer and maker of Robert Mondavi, Vendage and Ravenswood wines reported third-quarter earnings.  

Check Out Line: Consumers cut back on discretionary drinks


Check Out Coca-Cola Enterprises feeling the pinch as cash-strapped consumers buy fewer soft drinks.

The world’s largest Coca-Cola bottler cut its full-year outlook on Thursday, even though third-quarter results met Wall Street’s view.

Sam Adams founder preparing for the Big Leagues


beer1.jpgWhen Jim Koch decided to start making Sam Adams beer in 1984, he raised $140,000 from friends and family, pooled that with $100,000 of his own money, and set a target. Within 5 years his Boston-based brewery would cook up 8,000 barrels of beer a year.

Twenty-four years and a stock IPO later, Boston Beer Co is selling nearly 2 million barrels of beer a year and is poised to become the largest U.S.-owned brewer. Assuming InBev’s takeover of Anheuser-Busch goes through.

Despite deal, Cubans may not crack open Budweisers soon


bucanero2.jpgAnheuser-Busch’s “Cuba defense” against a takeover by Belgium-based InBev may have gone flat after the Budweiser folks agreed to be bought out, but don’t expect to see America’s top-selling beers in Havana bars any time soon.  

InBev brews and sells Beck’s, Bucanero, Cristal and Mayabe beers in Cuba through a 50/50 joint venture with the Cuban government. Could Cubans now be one mambo step closer to cracking open a cold Bud on a hot Havana night? 

Check Out Line: A Brewing Showdown


bud2.jpgCheck out things looking hostile in InBev’s bid for Anheuser-Busch.

InBev, spurned so far in its attempt to acquire the maker of Budweiser and Bud Light, filed papers with the Securities and Exchange Commission that would lead to Anheuser shareholders voting on the future of the U.S. company’s board.

The Belgian beer maker also unveiled its own proposed board that would include Adolphus Busch IV, an uncle of Anheuser‘s current chief executive. Makes you go Hmmm…

Check Out Line: Hostile Light?


budpic.jpgCheck out signs of possible acrimony in InBev’s takeover bid for Anheuser-Busch.

Could InBev be bringing a new flavor — Hostile Light — to the beer wars as it pushes forward with its $46.3 billion takeover bid for the maker of Budweiser?