World Series Throws Spotlight on AB InBev's Mexican-Beer BattleBy
The World Series, which gets underway in Los Angeles Tuesday, will feature a contest that has nothing to do with baseball: Anheuser-Busch InBev SA’s attempt to steal market share from Modelo beer.
The company has put up billboards at Dodger Stadium to promote its Estrella Jalisco beer, a move that has been raising the brand’s profile in Southern California, according to Pablo Zuanic, an analyst at Susquehanna International Group. The Dodgers go up against the Houston Astros in Game 1 of the series.
Mexican-beer drinkers have become an attractive prize for the spirits industry. The category is outpacing the rest of the market, helping Modelo Especial post double-digit gains for owner Constellation Brands Inc.
AB InBev owns Corona and Modelo Especial beers outside of the U.S., but was forced to sell the domestic rights because of antitrust issues. To win over Modelo fans in the U.S., the world’s largest brewer brought Estrella Jalisco north of the border in March 2016.
But using Dodger Stadium as a marketing platform hasn’t always paid off. In recent years, the company rolled out another Mexican beer, Montejo, at the venue, according to the Los Angeles Times. But sales were slow to take off.
The question this time around is whether the World Series will bring some extra zing to a brand that most Americans haven’t heard of.