Anheuser-Busch Lays Off St. Louis Employees Amid Weak Beer Sales

ST. LOUIS (St. Louis Post-Dispatch/TNS) -

Anheuser-Busch laid off an undisclosed number of employees in St. Louis this month amid declining sales volume in the United States.

Some affected employees were notified of the layoffs on Thursday, Nov. 13. A-B confirmed the layoffs but would not say whether the layoffs extend beyond St. Louis, the U.S. headquarters of A-B InBev.

The maker of Budweiser, Bud Light and other beers does not disclose the size of its local workforce, which totaled about 4,000 in 2011. Outside of St. Louis, A-B operates 11 other breweries in the U.S., in addition to the Goose Island brewery in Chicago.

Industry publication Beer Marketer’s Insights reported Wednesday that the job cuts include marketing positions.

Even as the company has remained profitable, A-B’s volume in North American declined 2.6 percent in 2013, and its sales to retailers in the U.S. fell 1.9 percent in its most recent quarter.

In a statement, A-B’s vice president of people, Jim Brickey, said the company is “reorganizing certain work that displaces some positions.”

“These are always difficult decisions, but are important in evolving our business and improving our competitiveness,” Brickey’s statement continued. “We are enhancing our severance program during this time to assist those impacted as they transition out of the company.”

A-B recently established a high-end business unit in Chicago, and said in August it planned to relocate some St. Louis employees to that office. A-B also said earlier this year that it planned to outsource its media buying and related services previously overseen by its Busch Media Group subsidiary.

In regulatory filings, Belgium-based A-B InBev said it employed 16,852 in North America in 2013, down from 17,136 in 2012. The company employed 21,871 in North America after the acquisition of A-B in late 2008.