A-B passes 50% mark

It’s not official yet, but based upon first quarter beer shipments Anheuser-Busch now owns more than half the United States beer market.

While reporting a 6% gain in profits, the St. Louis-based brewer indicated that its share of the domestic market rose from 49.5% to 52.1%. Industry experts say quarterly market share figures are not official. They reflect shipments to distributors, not necessarily beer sales. True market share figures are based on full-year numbers.

However, Harry Schuhmacher of Beer Business Daily said he expects Anheuser-Busch to officially top the 50% mark in 2003.

Bud Light remains the best selling beer in America, topping Budweiser, the best-selling “regular” beer. In fact, Bud Light sales are twice that of No. 2 light beer Coors Light and No. 3 Miller Lite combined. The second best-selling regular beer is Busch, also from A-B, with only a quarter the sales of Bud.

In the first three months of 2003, Anheuser-Busch earned $485 million as sales grew nearly 5% to $3.28 billion. Worldwide beer sales volume rose 1.7% to 26.7 million barrels.

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