MillerCoors Q1 Depletions Down 3.8%; Shipments Down 2.7%

Dear Client:

This time last year, MillerCoors was turning in a disastrous first quarter performance for 2018 with depletions down nearly 4% and shipments down a staggering 7% due to the mess at their Golden Brewery. How’s the company faring a year later? Well, shipments were only down 2.7% in the first quarter of 2019.

Depletions, however, are still down around 4%, falling 3.8% in Q1.

MillerCoors, who posted the first quarter earnings this morning, said the declines in shipments and depletions were both driven by “lower volume.” They expect the two to converge on a full year basis.

While depletions and shipments remain soft, MillerCoors’ net sales per hectoliter are growing, up 3.7% in the quarter, “driven by higher pricing.” Net sales were up 1.1% this time last year. This jump received a special call out from Molson Coors CEO Mark Hunter in his opening statement of the report, saying he’s “encouraged by the meaningful growth of net sales revenue in the U.S.”

Mark also highlighted “the increasingly strong performance of Miller Lite which held total beer industry share and an improved performance of Coors Light” as well as “strong U.S. retailer placements for our upweighted innovation program.”

More after the call.


The world’s largest c-store operator and largest U.S. beer retailer is looking to make beer purchases at its stores even more convenient.

Last month, 7-Eleven quietly rolled out the option to purchase beer in its delivery app, dubbed 7Now, in select markets, reports Food & Wine.

The ability to cop beer for home delivery is currently limited to 18 markets: Austin, TX; Charlotte, NC; Chicago, IL; Dallas-Ft. Worth, TX; Los Angeles, CA; Miami-Ft. Lauderdale, FL; New York, NY; Norfolk-Portsmouth, VA; Orlando-Daytona, FL; Phoenix, AZ; Portland, OR; Sacramento, CA; San Antonio, TX; San Diego, CA; San Francisco, CA; Seattle-Tacoma, WA; St. Louis, MO; Tampa, FL.

Fortunately for us, one of those markets happens to be BBD’s backyard: San Antonio. So we decided to give the new beer delivery option a spin.

Once we had the app on our phone (easy to download through the Apple Store or Google Play), we had the freedom to order virtually everything they supply in the store – snacks, candy, beverages, frozen stuff, household/personal care items, and of course, beer.

7Now breaks the beer market down into six segments: “import, craft, domestic, malt, sparkling, singles” (that’s the order they appear in the app, by the way).

After picking a segment, the app shows the different brands under that umbrella – the brands under the segments are pretty much what you would expect save for a few oddballs in craft like Pabst and Lone Star here in Texas.  

Each brand is listed with a picture followed by the name, pack size, and calorie count per serving. The app gives us the option to sort these choices alphabetically, by popularity, or by price. When we selected a brand for further investigation we were given all those aforementioned bits of info and some additional nutritional information like total fat and carbs.  

We selected our six-pack, added it to our cart, threw in a Slurpee for good measure, and proceeded to checkout. Because of the beer in our cart we had to go through an extra measure – letting the app access our camera to get a look at the front and backside of our driver’s license. Once the technology gave our ID the greenlight, we entered our credit card info and set the delivery.

Fifteen minutes later a driver showed up (the driver worked for Dasher, not 7-Eleven) and had our goods in a 7-Eleven tote bag. Before handing the bag off to us, the driver had to check and scan our ID once again. After he got the OK, he forked it over.

Beer was good and cold, and Slurpee still frozen.

All in a pretty easy and surprisingly speedy experience. Let’s see if it catches on.


Alright, so beer had a relatively good showing for the four weeks in the latest set of all outlet scan data from Nielsen, up 0.7% for the frame ending April 20. But we’re not going to spend a whole lot of time on that because a chunk of that positive post is likely owed to holiday weekend (Easter) that wasn’t there this time last year.

No, what we want to highlight from this set is… Natty Light.

Last week we shared comments from the A-B’s Beyond Beer team, who said that the franchise’s new line extension Naturdays, a sort of unnatural light that’s brewed with strawberry lemonade flavor, is already ‘the top beer innovation this year,’ and it doesn’t appear they’re pulling our leg on that.

The brand popped up in Nielsen’s Top 10 Growth Brands after breaking the scoreboard so to speak with four-week and YTD trends both somewhere north of 200%.  

But that’s not the only brand from the franchise making the cut in Nielsen’s Top 10. Nope, OG Natty Light, which we’d remind you is a top ten brand in the off-premise, and Natty Daddy both slid in the top ten too, with four-week volume up 3.3% and 32.7%, respectively.

These two brands making the cut isn’t a fluke either, they both made the top ten a month ago too and Natty Daddy has been somewhat of a mainstay in Nielsen’s Top 10 for years now.

Suffice it to say, having three brands from one franchise make the top ten is pretty stunning. I mean two of the hottest brands in the industry Mich Ultra and Truly come close, but both only have two.

Let’s see how long Natty can keep it going.

Until tomorrow,

Harry, Jenn, and Jordan

“Silence is one of the hardest arguments to refute.”

– Josh Billings

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