Bud Light Just Got The Worst Possible News, They Lost Their Spot
Bud Light, the beer brand owned by Anheuser-Busch InBev (ABI.BR), has lost its spot as the top-selling beer in the United States after a backlash triggered by its social media promotion with transgender influencer Dylan Mulvaney.
According to consulting firm Bump Williams, Bud Light and Budweiser sales dropped 24.6% and 9.2%, respectively, for the four weeks that ended June 3, while competitor Constellation Brands' (STZ.N) Modelo Especial rose 10.2%. This shift in sales put Modelo Especial on top, with an 8.4% share of overall beer sales through retail stores for the period ending June 3.
In May, AB InBev CEO Michel Doukeris commented that it was too early to assess the impact of the backlash from consumers who objected to the promotion and posted transphobic comments on social media, triggering a boycott of Bud Light. Following the backlash, AB InBev's overall sales growth declined 12% in the four weeks ending May 20 according to TD Cowen, fully capturing the impacts of the boycott. Vivien Azer, an analyst with TD Cowen, noted that this decline was larger than the 3.6% decline AB InBev had seen in the four weeks ending April 22.
The conservative backlash didn't end with Bud Light, however. Retailer Target (TGT.N) removed some LGBTQ-themed goods due to customer and employee confrontations, while Pride merchandise was reported to have been thrown on the floor.
It's not just the recent boycott that has impacted sales of these long-standing light beer brands; the growth of craft beers and the recent resurgence of hard seltzers has continued to diminish the market share for Bud Light. According to Euromonitor International, established "light" beer brands have seen sales volumes slide at a faster pace than the U.S. beer sector as a whole over the past six years.
As drinkers continue to shift away from traditional beers, Bud Light will have to fight hard to reclaim its spot as the top beer in the United States and remain competitive in the rapidly changing beer market.
Modelo Especial is now the top-selling beer in America with an 8.4% share, up from 7.5% in January. Bud Light has moved down to 7.3% from 10.3% in January, relinquishing the top spot for the first time since 2001.https://t.co/TQFH9nySjZ pic.twitter.com/wFvj8ScbHN
— Charlie Bilello (@charliebilello) June 14, 2023