Beer Still Fuels AB InBev’s Global Efforts, Even as Americans Drink Less of It

Monitoring ecommerce data and working with craft and legacy brands internationally

Hand holding up can of Bud Light
As AB InBev brings new products to market in the U.S., the international arm is looking to boost its beer. Getty Images
Headshot of Ann-Marie Alcántara

While Americans aren’t drinking as much beer as they used to, the rest of the world hasn’t lost its lust for lager. The global beer market is worth an eye-popping $660 billion, according to a report from Research and Markets, a firm dedicated to providing international data across industries.

So, while the U.S. branch of AB InBev doubles down on bringing new products to market, such as Natural Light Seltzer, the international arm is looking for ways to boost its beer presence, says Pedro Earp, chief marketing and ZX Ventures officer of Anheuser-Busch InBev.

Chief marketing and ZX Ventures officer Pedro Earp
Rebecca Greenfield for Adweek

Earp and the global team have been monitoring data from the ecommerce business of AB InBev for clues about what consumers are looking for. In 2018, they launched Beck’s, the company’s German beer, in stores in Brazil after data showed people there were buying it online. The beer giant is also growing the company by working with craft and legacy brands around the world, such as Cerveza Patagonia in Argentina and 4 Pines Brewing in Australia.

“We are partnering up with people who are passionate about the industry,” Earp says. “Instead of us trying to create all the solutions that consumers are looking for, partnerships make a lot of sense for us.”

Most recently, AB InBev went public in Hong Kong under the listing Budweiser APAC in order to expand further into Asia, which held 33% of the beer volume market in 2018, according to Research and Markets. This past summer, ZX Ventures, which incubates companies like Ze Delivery, a beer delivery app, hit the $1 billion revenue mark.

The beer giant is also looking beyond beer, such as partnering with Tilray, a cannabis company in Canada, to develop cannabis-infused drinks.

This story first appeared in the Nov. 4, 2019, issue of Brandweek.

@itstheannmarie Ann-Marie Alcántara is a tech reporter for Adweek, focusing on direct-to-consumer brands and ecommerce.