Bud Light Hits New Weekly Sales Low After Dylan Mulvaney Boycott

Bud Light Hits New Weekly Sales Low After Dylan Mulvaney Boycott
A six pack of Bud Light sits on a shelf for sale at a convenience store in New York City on July 26, 2018. (Drew Angerer/Getty Images)
Jack Phillips

Bud Light’s woes don’t appear to be subsiding anytime soon as the latest data show the light beer firm saw another weekly decline after it decided to engage in a promotional effort with a transgender TikTok influencer.

Data from Bump Williams Consulting and NielsenIQ show that sales for Bud Light are down 28.5 percent year-over-year for the week ending June 17, according to the New York Post. That’s a decline of about 2 percentage points from the week ending June 10, when sales dropped 26.8 percent, Bump Williams’s data show.

Anheuser-Busch’s other brands, including Budweiser and Michelob Ultra, have also suffered year-over-year losses. Budweiser’s sales are down 12.3 percent, Busch Light is down 8.1 percent, and Michelob Ultra is down 4 percent, according to Bump Williams and Nielsen IQ.

At the same time, competitors like Yuengling Lager went up 25.1 percent, the data show. Coors Light saw a 21.8 percent increase, and Miller Lite went up 16 percent.

And for the month of May, Constellation Brands-owned Modelo Especial was the number one-selling brand in the United States, outpacing Bud Light, which fell to number two, industry data show.

Bump Williams, chief of the eponymous consulting company, told the New York Post on June 21, “This was a tough week for Bud Light and other beer brands” that are owned by Anheuser-Busch, including Budweiser. Sales of Budweiser were down by 10 percent, Natural Light was down by 2.3 percent, and Michelob Ultra was down by 2.4 percent.

The backlash started in early April, when Bud Light produced a can for transgender influencer Dylan Mulvaney, which also led to a decline in Anheuser-Busch’s stock. Anheuser-Busch InBev’s chief executive, Michel Doukeris, has publicly tried to distance Bud Light from Mulvaney, and the brand has appeared to shift its advertising to a more America-friendly image.

In response, Doukeris told investors last month that he believes that online “misinformation” was the primary reason for the sales numbers, and he asserted that it was just “one can” that was produced with Mulvaney’s face on it and appeared to deny that there was a partnership. However, Mulvaney posted on social media that there was a partnership.

The can drew the ire of multiple celebrities and conservative influencers on Twitter. Some suggested that consumers boycott the brand in a bid to send a message to corporations that may be pursuing a “woke” leftist agenda.

A 12-ounce can of Bud Light on a railing at the World Equestrian Center in Ocala, Fla. on May 26, 2023. (T.J. Muscaro/The Epoch Times)
A 12-ounce can of Bud Light on a railing at the World Equestrian Center in Ocala, Fla. on May 26, 2023. (T.J. Muscaro/The Epoch Times)

However, some social media users this week noticed Bud Light is an official sponsor of the Pride Toronto Parade, which promotes the LGBT lifestyle, and will “feature them on our can design.”

“Bud Light Canada has been a proud partner of Pride Toronto for the last 10 years. This year, we’re commemorating this milestone with Pride Toronto by featuring them on our can design, as well as continuing as the official beer sponsor of the festival,” Bud Light’s Canadian website says. “As a brand, Bud Light Canada is excited to once again celebrate and support the LGBTQIA2S+ community through Pride Toronto’s annual pride celebration and parade.”

Permanent Losses?

At least one analyst noted that some of Bud Light’s previous customers—before the Mulvaney fracas—will never come back.
“We believe recent underperformance implies a permanent reduction in ABI’s U.S. business,” Deutsche Bank analyst Mitch Collett wrote for Barron’s. “Our proprietary survey data suggests these headwinds are likely to fade even if we do not expect the U.S. business ever to fully recover from its current challenges.”

Collett also upgraded shares of AB InBev to “buy” from “hold,” increasing the price target to $65.92 from $64.83, according to the report. Data gathered by Deutsche Bank suggest that 24 percent of Bud Light’s consumers no longer purchase the brand. Another 18 percent are buying less, he said.

Data also show that 21 percent of consumers are buying more, while 37 percent are buying the same amount, he said, according to the report.

“Taken together, our survey data shows that Bud Light as a brand faces significant challenges—particularly with older consumers. However, we believe the forward-looking data sets imply that the challenges will at least partially fade,” he wrote, noting that data show the firm hasn’t lost shelf presence.

Another analyst said Bud Light could see tough times ahead. Evercore’s Robert Ottenstein said Bud Light will “permanently lose” between 15 and 20 percent of its volume. After that, “declines will resume at about the average rate of the prior 10 years,” he said.

Anheuser-Busch didn’t respond to a request from The Epoch Times for comment.

Jack Phillips is a breaking news reporter with 15 years experience who started as a local New York City reporter. Having joined The Epoch Times' news team in 2009, Jack was born and raised near Modesto in California's Central Valley. Follow him on X: https://twitter.com/jackphillips5
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