AB InBev Buzzes While Coke Feels the Hangover

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The Coca-Cola Company (NYSE:KO) is going to need a cold one after this report, since it looks like the Atlanta-based soda giant has a new rival on its hands. Its competitor doesn’t serve soda and it doesn’t serve juice — it serves beer. That would be Anheuser-Busch InBev (NYSE:BUD), the beer giant whose brands include Budweiser, Corona, and Stella Artois. The Belgian-Brazilian multinational beverage and brewing company reported its latest earnings Wednesday, and subsequently enjoyed a stock surge that rose to above $167 billion in intraday trade that day.

The Wall Street Journal reported the news Wednesday, and said that AB InBev’s $167-billion ceiling topped Coke’s by a few hundred million dollars at one point, temporarily usurping the soda giant from the beverage throne. Coke ultimately caught up to AB InBev later in the day, but it is still significant that the beer company was able to enjoy the top perch for a while Wednesday, as Coke has long ruled that post. AB InBev finished the trading day Wednesday up 1.55 percent at $103.75

The interesting fact about the Coke-AB InBev rivalry is that although both have been dominating headlines recently, neither of the companies have been enjoying particularly impressive sales. Over the past few months, we’ve heard time and time again that Coke is suffering disappointing sales thanks to health-conscious consumers, and the beer industry isn’t exactly thriving either. According to the Journal, AB InBev reported Wednesday that its beer volumes dropped 2 percent last year. So, what is the company’s current saving grace? Interestingly enough, that would be its high-profile acquisitions.

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