A-B expects strong second half

Anheuser-Busch profits increased 6% in the second quarter, helped by strength in its U.S. beer operations. The company forecast accelerating earnings growth for the second half of the year.

A-B sold 27.5 million barrels of beer in the United States, up 2.3%, while it moved 5.9 million barrels overseas, a gain of 1.6%. International gains were driven by increased volume in China, Canada and Mexico, partially offset by lower volume in the United Kingdom.

New products – both those produced by A-B and imports new to the portfolio – drove the growth.

U.S. distributors’ sales to retailers such as gas stations, bars and grocery stores inched up only a tenth of a percent in the second quarter versus a year ago.

If new imports such as Stella Artois and Bass Pale Ale were subtracted from the mix, sales of A-B’s “trademark” brands to retailers would have dropped 1.5%. Those include Budweiser, Michelob and Busch.