UPDATE 2-World Cup drinking in Brazil gives beer company AB InBev big boost
* Q2 core profit (EBITDA) $4.85 bln vs $4.59 bln expected
* Brazil sales volumes up 7.2 pct with World Cup boost
* Keeps outlook, expects higher distribution costs (Updates with one-offs, shares, analyst comment)
By Philip Blenkinsop
BRUSSELS, July 31 (Reuters) - The maker of Budweiser, Stella Artois and Corona beers experienced a sharp surge in sales in Brazil during the World Cup with the month-long contest leading to consumption of an extra 140 million litres or 2 million barrels.
Anheuser-Busch InBev, the world's largest brewer, said on Thursday this helped it to earn more than expected in the second quarter, along with strength in China and Mexico and an exceptional gain.
The company, which sold more than one in five beers drunk worldwide last year, also took advantage of Brazil's hosting of the soccer tournament to propel sales of soft drinks, which increased by far more than did beer sales.
Pepsi, which AB InBev bottles and distributes in Latin America, had fared well, as had the company's own caffeine-rich Guarana Antarctica, a sponsor of the Brazil soccer team.
Brazil, the company's second-largets market, accounts for more than two-thirds of the group's non-beer sales, themselves about a 10th of overall volumes. Continuación...