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    Bubbling profits for AB InBev despite Bud Light boycott

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    The world’s largest brewer AB InBev on Wednesday toasted a jump in profits in the first quarter, despite a drop in beer sales driven by a Bud Light boycott in the US.

    The Belgian-Brazilian group, which includes the Budweiser, Stella Artois and Corona brands, said net profits were up 15.2 per cent to reach $1.51 billion (£1.21bn) thanks to higher prices.

    AB InBev, which claims more than two billion consumers in 150 countries, recorded a 0.6 per cent drop in volumes sold worldwide in the first three months of 2024.

    Beer sales posted a larger drop of 1.3 per cent, but the total was partially offset by a 3.5 per cent increase in other drinks.

    The company said in its earnings statement that sales-to-retailers “were down by 13.7 per cent, primarily due to the volume decline of Bud Light”.

    AB InBev got caught in the US culture wars in 2023 after it teamed up with a transgender influencer to promote Bud Light, which sparked a boycott by conservative figures.

    Despite the sales decline, higher prices allowed AB InBev to increase its revenue by 2.6 per cent to $14.5bn.

    AB InBev said sales rose in three fourth of its markets worldwide, thanks to a 3.3 percent increase in revenue per hectolitre.

    “The strength of the beer category, our diversified global footprint and the continued momentum of our megabrands delivered another quarter of broad-based top- and bottom-line growth,” Michel Doukeris, chief executive, said in a statement.

    “We are encouraged by our results to start the year, and the consistent execution by our teams and partners reinforces our confidence in delivering on our 2024 growth ambitions.”

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