New York-based 5W Public Relations has conducted a survey via phone of 737 American beer drinkers over the age of 21 on February 25 & 26, 2020, regarding their opinions about the popular Mexican beer brand, Corona, as a result of the deadly coronavirus that’s spreading around the world.
According to SEMrush, a trends data provider, and multiple media reports, there has been a consistent uptick in searches for “corona beer virus” and “beer coronavirus” over the past few weeks.
5WPR’s survey found that:
- 38% of beer-drinking Americans would not buy Corona under any circumstances now
- Among those who said they usually drink Corona, only 4% said they would stop drinking Corona, but 14% said they wouldn’t order Corona in a public venue
- 16% of beer drinking Americans were confused about whether Corona beer is related to the coronavirus
“There is no question that Corona beer is suffering because of the coronavirus. Could one imagine walking into a bar and saying “Hey, can I have a Corona?” or “Pass me A Corona,” said Ronn Torossian, Founder and CEO of 5WPR. “While the brand has claimed that consumers understand there’s no linkage between the virus and the beer company, this is a disaster for the Corona brand. After all, what brand wants to be linked to a virus which is killing people worldwide?”
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No changes to Corona advertising
While the beer shares the same name with the virus, Constellation Brands, which brews Corona has stated there will be no change to their advertising. The beverage and alcohol company provided a response on its website about the impact of COVID-19 on its brands.
Bill Newlands, president and CEO, said in the statement, “Our thoughts and prayers go out to those affected by this terrible virus and we hope efforts to more fully contain it gain traction soon.”
He added, “It’s extremely unfortunate that recent misinformation about the impact of this virus on our business has been circulating in traditional and social media without further investigation or validation. These claims simply do not reflect our business performance and consumer sentiment, which includes feedback from our distributor and retailer partners across the country. We’ve seen no impact to our people, facilities or operations and our business continues to perform very well.”
Read the full statement below:
Based on recent IRI retail trends, sales of Corona Extra remain strong, with dollar sales up 5% in the U.S. per the latest 4-week period ended Feb. 16, nearly doubling the 52-week trend for the brand. Similarly, depletion trends for Corona Extra for the first two months of this calendar year through Feb. 26, as well as the month of February, have also outpaced their 52-week trend.
In addition, IRI dollar sales trends for the entire Corona brand family are also outpacing their 52-week trend in the latest 4-week and 12-week periods. Furthermore, all business units supporting our beer business are seeing positive sales trends for the brand thus far this calendar year.
“Our thoughts and prayers go out to those affected by this terrible virus and we hope efforts to more fully contain it gain traction soon,” said Bill Newlands, president and chief executive officer at Constellation Brands.
“It’s extremely unfortunate that recent misinformation about the impact of this virus on our business has been circulating in traditional and social media without further investigation or validation. These claims simply do not reflect our business performance and consumer sentiment, which includes feedback from our distributor and retailer partners across the country. We’ve seen no impact to our people, facilities or operations and our business continues to perform very well.
Unlike many of our competitors, sales of our beer brands are focused almost entirely on the U.S. market. Our company does not have much exposure to international markets such as China that have been most impacted by this situation. I’m extremely proud of the efforts of our team. We’ve built good momentum as we gear up for the upcoming summer selling season.”
YouGov’s buzz score reported that Corona beer’s buzz score — a net score based on whether U.S. adults have heard anything negative or positive about the brand — decreased among those who have an opinion of the brand, from a high score of 75 at the beginning of January to 51 as of late February, 2020.
However according to Snopes, Corona Beer sales have not been affected.