MillerCoors Q4 Shipments Down 8.9%; Depletions Down 5.1%

Dear Client:

Fourth quarter results for 2018 Molson Coors are in. How’d MillerCoors finish out the year?

U.S. brand volumes (depletions) dropped 5.1% during the quarter, “driven by lower volume in the premium light and economy segments.” A bit slower than their Q3 reading for depletions, down 3.3%.

MillerCoors’ sales-to-wholesalers (shipments) declined 8.9%, “driven by lower brand volume as well as quarterly timing of wholesaler inventories.” That’s way off the 1.1% increase seen in Q3.

Still, MillerCoors contends that “wholesaler inventories ended 2018 at normal levels due to lower inventories outside of the radius of our Milwaukee brewery, offset by higher inventory levels in the Milwaukee brewery area in preparation for our February system implementation.”

FULL YEAR RESULTS FOR STRS AND STWS. They added that “on a full year basis,” depletions and shipments “largely converged” with depletions down 3.9% and shipments down 4.4%.

U.S. net sales for the quarter were down 7%, vs. a -6.2% trend for the total company.

Net sales per hectoliter in the U.S. were up 2.7% for the quarter, while costs of goods sold per hecto grew faster than that, up 5%, “driven by aluminum inflation, higher transportation costs and volume deleverage,” and partially offset by cost savings.

More after the call.


How big can the roughly 12-million-case U.S. non alc market get? Heineken USA CMO Jonnie Cahill thinks they can help “triple it,” he told our Beer Summit Audience a couple weeks ago.

There’s “no reason we can’t get to 2%, 3% of beer,” he thinks.

Alcohol abstinence is becoming more popular, especially for younger people. In fact, Jonnie shared that their research reveals 35% of people 21-25 haven’t had a beer in the last month.

As you know if you read our rag, Heineken is cornering this opportunity with its 0.0 brew — basically Heineken without booze.

In fact they’re sinking $50 million into educating the U.S. that “Now You Can” do all the things you couldn’t before while drinking a beer. That campaign includes some clever TV spots, like one where a guy defiantly drinks a 0.0 in a car, while the cop writes him up — for parking illegally.

“What was a distressed sacrifice is now a legit choice of a world-class brand,” is the idea, Jonnie says.

To further that theme, they’re looking at things “bring your beer to work day” because, you know, “now you can.” (Well, at BBD we always “could,” but not all people are so lucky.)

The response to the campaign and brew so far has been ‘strong,” Jonnie says.

Until tomorrow,

Harry, Jenn, and Jordan

“Try to learn something about everything and everything about something.” – Thomas H. Huxley

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