Ever since the reported number of cases of the new coronavirus — COVID 19 — really started to ramp up in January, there has been a very small subset of the global population that has unfoundedly linked the virus with the beer brand Corona.
Having the bad luck of sharing half the name of the virus, Corona has popped up in media headlines that mention this misperceived connection between Corona and coronavirus. Just last week, 5W Public Relations shared the results of a phone survey of 737 American beer drinkers, which included a startling stat that 16 percent of respondents were confused about whether the beer is related to the virus, and that 38 percent of respondents would currently not buy Corona under any circumstances.
Constellation Brands, which owns Corona, tried to suppress any impact the coronavirus is having on business with a press release issued Feb. 28, leading it saying the response includes “fact-based consumer trends to address unfounded concerns about the impact of the COVID-19 virus on its business and consumer sentiment related to the company’s Corona beer brand,” and detailing how Corona sales remain strong.
The release reads:
“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.”