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Corona beer sales on fire during the coronavirus pandemic: Constellation Brands CEO

Coronavirus hasn’t stopped Corona, the popular beer imported from Mexico.

“Most consumers understand Corona the brand has nothing to do with corona the virus. Our consumers are very comfortable with the brand and the results speak for themselves. Recent data show our Corona brand is up over 20%. So very strong performance,” Constellation Brands CEO Bill Newlands said on Yahoo Finance’s The First Trade.

Remember it was earlier this year that Twitter erupted with memes of Corona the beer and the coronavirus. Meanwhile, online searches for “corona beer virus” reportedly spiked. That doesn’t appear to have had any financial impact on Corona beer sales, per Newlands’ comments.

And it definitely didn’t show up in Constellation Brands’ (STZ) most recent quarter, either.

For the fiscal fourth quarter ended Feb. 29, Corona brand depletions — a key beer industry metric — rose a solid 5%. New Corona brands drinks such as Corona Premier, Corona Refresca and Corona Hard Seltzer all performed strongly in the quarter, Newlands told analysts on an early April earnings call.

CHICAGO, IL - JUNE 07:  In this photo illustration, bottles of Corona beer are shown on June 7, 2013 in Chicago, Illinois.  Constellation Brands, one of the world's largest wine companies, is expected to become the third-largest beer supplier in the United State today with a $5.3 billion purchase of the U.S. distribution rights of Grupo Modelo beers from Anheuser Busch InBev. Corona Extra, brewed by Grupo Modelo, is the number one selling imported beer sold in the United States and the number six selling beer overall.  (Photo Illustration by Scott Olson/Getty Images)
Bottles of Corona beer. (Photo Illustration by Scott Olson/Getty Images)

Modelo brand depletions increased 18%. Constellation’s overall beer segment sales improved 8.9% from a year ago. Wine and spirits organic sales gained 3.7%.

Newlands remains confident in the outlook for the business — which includes wines as well — despite social distancing efforts this summer. He says there has been a shift in alcohol consumption to homes from bars and restaurants.

“We are seeing more direct to consumer. We have got [wine] brands like Kim Crawford up 30%. Meiomi is up. Even Woodbridge is up 28%, which is one of our bigger brands. Consumers are buying tried and true brands and stocking up on it. It’s one of the simple pleasures people look for at a time when they are largely sheltering in their homes,” Newlands explains.

Brian Sozzi is an editor-at-large and co-anchor of The First Trade at Yahoo Finance. Follow Sozzi on Twitter @BrianSozzi and on LinkedIn.

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