Look What's Cheaper Than Water, How The Mighty Have Fallen
Bud Light finds itself up a creek without a paddle after an ill-conceived endorsement deal with transgender influencer Dylan Mulvaney.
The beer brand’s parent company, Anheuser-Busch, has been attempting to save face while sales and stock value have plummeted in the wake of Mulvaney’s April 1 Instagram video, which has received over one million views. But so far, an official apology or admission of fault has failed to materialize, and Bud Light’s costs have fallen even lower than a case of water.
“At this point, it’s cheaper than some of the cases of water we’re selling in the back,” Andy Wagner, the manager of Glenn Miller’s Beer & Soda Warehouse in Lemoyne, Pennsylvania, told the New York Times. “It’s just not moving like it used to.”
In the four weeks ending in mid-June, Bud Light’s sales dropped an average of 29 percent from the same period in 2022, according to the consulting firm Bump Williams. Since Mulvaney’s video, Anheuser-Busch’s stock has plummeted over 15 percent, supplanting Bud Light, America’s best-selling beer of 20 years, with Mexican brewer Modelo Especial as the most popular brew.
Bud Light CEO Brendan Whitworth made a televised appearance on CBS This Morning where he called the reaction to the endorsement deal “divisive,” while weaseling out of accepting any blame for the declaration’s repercussions, reiterating the company’s stance from early May – that the exploding GIF-icon can of beer was merely “a gift.”
When asked if they would make the same decision again in hindsight, Whitworth vaguely responded that big companies don’t exist in a vacuum, and must take into account the current social climate, as well as the wants and needs of their customers.
The situation has left casual beer drinkers who have been loyal to Bud Light for years at a loss.
“They just stopped buying Bud Light,” Wagner said. “It's not that they stopped drinking beer.”
Whether or not the company will learn from its blunders remains to be seen. With its profits dwindling, Bud Light must decide whether to continue backing Mulvaney and risk further alienating its customer base, or move forward with an apology and invest in restoring public trust. One thing is certain, though, Bud Light has been dealt a steadily souring hand.