Cali down 4%, Florida down 9%, Texas down 5% . it wasn’t a pretty May for beer shipments.

Much of the nation’s heaviest beer drinking areas were hit with rain showers and even some flooding over the Independence Day weekend, smashing brewers’ hopes of a strong Q3 start. Also, Philip Morris is defending itself against cig wholesalers for a new pricing scheme. What it could mean to the beer industry.

The three tier system is getting hammered from all sides. What is the wholesaler beer industry doing to lay the groundwork for a strong defense? Beer Business Daily speaks with NBWA’s David Rehr.

Steve Cahillane going to UK, and Interbrew’s new value creation plan is based on “three axes”. Other management changes too.

Steve Cahillane became President of Labatt USA about a year ago after serving as a regional director and VP of Sales. Steve is one of the few suppliers who comes from the distribution side. He also founded a contract brewery in Chicago, so the man has cast a wide net of experience in our industry. Steve took off a few minutes from his busy schedule to sit down with Beer Business Daily.

It was a poor first half of the year, it was a poor second quarter, and it was a poor June in the beer business. What else is there to say, except that imported beer brands are still selling and July is getting off to a good start. And Barton Beers, with its West Coast Corona territory, was immune to East Coast weather and is posting excellent numbers.

As we wrap up another quarter, Beer Business Daily is talking with distributors about how they made out in June, and it wasn’t too pretty. But early indications are that we will have a great July 4.

My trip to Baghdad last week with the Diageo Humanitarian Airlift team left me with several impressions which I thought I would share with you.

And the march into China continues. Just a few days after A-B announced that it would convert its Tsingtao bonds to double its stake in that brewery, SABMiller decides to buy into another major Chinese brewer.

And that could lead to a Supreme Court showdown. It’s now legal to ship direct in Texas. The stakes are high as the highest court in the land now has a definite conflict concerning the 3-tier system to consider. Also, WSJ speculates that if Interbrew sells its stake in Femsa, the door is open for an A-B / Interbrew alignment, and a big European purchase by A-B.

Two profit announcements by two major global brewers acknowledge that Q1 is best forgotten, and the is not the growth story that it once was for imports. Is the bloom off the rose? Has pricing really caught up with us?

Your editor files his issue today from the Iraqi convention center in central Baghdad from a borrowed GI’s computer. Read about our three day adventure.

Michelob Ultra is considered by many to be one of the most successful beer product launches since Molson Ice in the early 1990s. The low carb/active lifestyle marketing theme has obviously resonated with consumers as the brand has captured about a 1.7% share in supermarkets and climbing. Its success seems to indicate that targeting a demographic niche can create incremental volume for the industry. Let’s take a look.

After its annual stockholders’ meeting last week, Molson chief Daniel O’Neill indicated that Molson has deployed an acquisition team to scour over beer deals in the U.S., Mexico, and all around the world.

April imported beer shipments experienced a slight trend improvement, only down 0.8%, or about 17,000 barrels, compared to down 4.4% year-to-date. Mexico and the UK brought us down while Ireland and the Netherlands picked up the slack.