Corona still world’s most valuable beer brand despite namesake virus outbreak

By Stuart Stone contact

- Last updated on GMT

Top spot: 'people thought the brand would be damaged, but there were a lot of articles from scholars saying it wouldn’t and it was ridiculous to make that parallel,' according to Budweiser Brewing Group’s Ryan Fritsch
Top spot: 'people thought the brand would be damaged, but there were a lot of articles from scholars saying it wouldn’t and it was ridiculous to make that parallel,' according to Budweiser Brewing Group’s Ryan Fritsch

Related tags: Beer, Lager, Finance, Craft beer, Mexico, Corona

Despite £112m dropping off its brand value in the past year and a name clash with a global pandemic, Corona remains the world’s most valuable beer brand according to Brand Finance.

Launched in August 2020, the brand valuation consultancy’s latest annual report on the strongest and most valuable alcoholic drinks brands saw Corona cling to top spot in its beer list despite the Mexican lager’s value falling from approximately £6.4bn to £6.3bn. 

This comes despite the outbreak of the namesake coronavirus, which saw the brand’s owner AB InBev lose £220m in revenue according to results published in February​. 

However, speaking to The Morning Advertiser (The MA)​, AB InBev-owned Budweiser Brewing Group’s on-trade sales director for the UK and Ireland Ryan Fritsch explained that Corona’s brand and sales figures hadn’t been dented by a pandemic name clash​. 

“It was quite interesting when Covid-19 happened, people thought the brand would be damaged, but there were a lot of articles from scholars saying it wouldn’t and it was ridiculous to make that parallel,” he told The MA​.

“The brand was growing very well pre-Covid globally at around 21% growth in 2019 and its continued that momentum with ease.”

News of Corona maintaining top spot ahead of the likes of Heineken, Budweiser and Bud Light, which were listed second, third and fourth respectively, also comes after the AB InBev-owned brand, which is imported into 120 countries, was made available on draught​ in UK pubs in October 2019.

Shifting brands 

World’s top 25 beer brands according to Brand Finance

Most valuable alcoholic drinks brands:

  1. Corona (Mexico)
  2. Heineken (Netherlands) 
  3. Budweiser (United States)
  4. Bud Light (United States)
  5. Victoria (Mexico)
  6. Kirin (Japan)
  7. Snow (China)
  8. Harbin (China)
  9. Modelo (Mexico)
  10. Skol (Brazil)
  11. Asahi (Japan)
  12. Coors Light (United States)
  13. Guinness (Ireland)
  14. Tsingtao (China)
  15. Miller Lite (United States)
  16. Brahma (Brazil)
  17. Tecate (Mexico)
  18. BrewDog (United Kingdom)
  19. Stella Artois (Belgium)
  20. Carlsberg (Denmark)
  21. Busch (United States)
  22. Sabeco (Vietnam)
  23. Aguila (Colombia)
  24. Antarctica (Brazil)
  25. Natural (United States)

Research from Brand Finance

In addition to compiling a league table of the world’s most valuable beer brands, which it expanded to 50 for the first time this year, Brand Finance also used factors such as marketing investment, customer familiarity, staff satisfaction, and corporate reputation to name Budweiser the world’s strongest beer brand. 

“Despite AB InBev citing a drop in revenue for its global brands, including Budweiser, from the pandemic, the trend for consumers to pivot towards well-known brands rather than trying new beers stands the brand in good stead in the coming year compared to its lesser known counterparts,” Brand Finance managing director Richard Haigh explained.

What’s more, Carlsberg-owned Tuborg was found to be the world’s fastest growing beer brand in the past 12 months, with the Danish pour seeing its value increase by a quarter (25.7%) in the past year, outstripping fast performing Asian brands such as Myanmar Beer, Tsingtao, Asahi, Kirin and Snow which were also among the 10 biggest movers since 2019.

Though the five fastest movers in Brand Finance’s 2019 list all hailed from Asia​, 2020 figures found that the likes of Thai beer Chang and China’s Harbin were among those taking huge hits to brand value with the former seeing its value fall by 58.5% in the past year.

Interestingly, among this year’s climbers was independent Scottish craft brewer and pub operator BrewDog, which bounded ahead of bar top mainstays such as Stella Artois to take 18th​ place on Brand Finance’s list after breaking into the world’s 25 most valuable beer brands for the first time last year.

Other headlines from Brand Finance’s Alcoholic Drinks 2020​ report included Chinese brands dominating the spirits sector – with the top five most valuable all originating from the People’s Republic – while Moët et Chandon bubbled to top of the inaugural champagne and wine list as both most valuable and strongest brand.

Yearning for comfort and safety 

Discussing the 2020 results, Henry Farr, a consultant at Brand Finance, explained that the ongoing pandemic and lockdown measures had heralded shifts in consumer behaviour including a return to more traditionally popular brands.

“An interesting trend observed in consumer drinking habits since lockdown was initiated is a reversion of demand to more familiar, well-known brands,” he said. “Incumbent popular brands have seen sales surge while peripheral challenger brands have struggled for their share of wallet. 

“This serves to show the importance of brand building. When so much of people’s lives is uncertain, consumers will look to brands that they are familiar with and trust. 

“Understanding this can help brand managers and CMOs pivot their communications to recognise this yearning for comfort and safety, where perhaps previously they had intended their campaigns to excite rather than comfort.”

Related topics: Beer

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