Anheuser-Busch CEO says company is well prepared to handle economic challenges

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Anheuser-Busch CEO says company is well prepared to handle economic challenges

Anheuser-Busch CEO Brendan Whitworth said the company is well prepared to handle the tumultuous economic environment because of the industry's extreme resiliency in recent years.

Whitworth expressed confidence in the brewing company, a subsidiary of Belgium-based AB InBev, and its ability to weather economic challenges, because of its expansive portfolio, which ranges from higher to more economical price points, even though there are growing fears of a potential recession.

In July 2021, Whitworth took over as chief executive for the nearly 170 year-old company that has more than 100 brands, including Budweiser, Bud Light, Michelob Ultra, Stella Artois and Shock Top, which are sold and distributed across the nation.

Whitworth told FOX Business that because we have brand representation and strong brands across the industry, we feel pretty well positioned to handle whatever and wherever the consumer goes.

One of its brands, Michelob Ultra, is having one of its strongest years, said Whitworth.

The brand has doubled its volume in the last five years, according to data analytics and market research company IRI.

It's a few dollars to get something like Michelob Ultra, which consumers are willing to spend for, he said.

Even if consumers start to make a few more decisions about how they spend, Anheuser-Busch has low-cost options to cater to that, according to Whitworth.

He pointed out the company's Busch Light brand, which is within its value segment.

He said that it's been going very well since 2019 and has continued to do extremely well now.

When asked if the company has raised prices, Whitworth said it has followed what's happening with inflation and increased costs to a degree it thinks is appropriate given the increased costs in the supply chain.

The cost increase is dependent on brands and the region in which they are sold.

He said that you have to reflect the disruption of the supply chain that's been taking place. We're very conscientious of competition, very conscientious of what's happening in the rest of the world of consumer packaged goods. Consumer spending has remained the same even with higher prices. Maybe the consumers don't take a trip that they were planning to take, but they seem to like buying Stella Artois in that way. We feel that the industry is resilient, regardless of what happens in the future, he said.

Chair Jerome Powell acknowledged what many economists have been saying for months. The Fed's goal of engineering a soft landing - managing to slow growth enough to curb inflation but not so much as cause a recession - looks increasingly unlikely.

Whitworth said the industry seems to be in good shape, but that's not where our mind is. He said that the industry just continues to be resilient or shows signs of resiliency.