Anheuser-Busch InBev is selling a little less beer, but making more money doing it.
A strategy to drive consumers around the world to higher-priced brews continued to play out in the third quarter, the brewer reported Wednesday. Revenue and profits grew even as the volume of beer A-B InBev sold slipped a bit.
In the U.S. market, which A-B InBev runs out of its North American headquarters in St. Louis, overall sales continued to slip, but at half the pace of last year. And A-B got more bang for each bottle, with revenue per hectoliter up 5.7 percent.
That’s largely because of strong growth of several high-end brands — sales of Michelob Ultra, Stella Artois and craft line Shock Top all grew at a healthy clip — and new “innovations” like Bud Light Platinum and Lime-A-Rita.
Budweiser sales are up 6.2 percent worldwide, with strong growth in China, Russia and Brazil. A-B InBev’s other global “focus brands” — Stella Artois and Beck’s — also saw stronger-than-average sales, even at higher price points than their domestic competitors.
In all, global revenue for A-B InBev grew 9.1 percent from the same time last year, to $10.7 billion, while profits were up 7.7 percent, to $1.8 billion. Beer volumes, however, fell 0.1 percent.