While many conservatives cried for a boycott of Bud Light after its marketing partnership with transgender TikTok personality Dylan Mulvaney was revealed, others argued that boycotts don’t work.
Don’t tell that to brewery giant Anheuser-Busch, because sales of Bud Light have plunged a stunning 17 percent since the controversy started. In fact, the trend is accelerating:
The latest sales data from NielsenIQ and Bump Williams Consulting shows that Bud Light sales fell 17% in dollars, while volume dropped a whopping 21% in the week ended April 15.
That’s sharply ahead of the 6% drop in sales dollars and 11% drop in volume that Bud Light had suffered during the week ended April 8 — the seven days that immediately followed the April 1 launch of the controversial Mulvaney campaign on social media.
That’s a whole lot of beer.
“These numbers are staggering,” says an April 23 report from Insights Express, a beer-focused newsletter. “Right now this is an extremely difficult scenario for Anheuser Busch, the Bud Light brand and for AB distributors.”
Bud Light’s competitors meanwhile are having a party. Those in the mood for watery light brew have turned elsewhere:
Bud Light lost 6.7% of market share last week, while Coors Light and Miller Lite are up 18%, according to the newsletter. A week earlier, Coors Light’s market share was up 10.6% over the same period and Miller Lite up 11.5%.
Bud Light has been hit by a huge 17% drop in sales since the Dylan Mulvaney partnership on March 31st.
The latest sales data from NielsonIQ shows a huge drop -17% during the week ending April 15th. The week prior sales of the beer had slumped 11%, meaning the drop increased by… pic.twitter.com/HxvF1NaS1d
— Oli London (@OliLondonTV) April 24, 2023
The numbers get even worse when you look at bars and restaurants:
Overall, Bud Light’s volume declined by 34.7% at bars, restaurants and other venues between April 2 and April 15, according to BeerBoard. Bud Light dropped to the No. 4 draft beer from No. 3 during the second week of the controversy, switching places with Coors Light, Brewbound reported on Monday.
Aaron Swain, the owner of the Red Door bar in Billings, Montana, is seeing the sales decline firsthand.
“We have seen a decline month to date,” Swain said last week. “The first 18 days of April versus the first 18 days of March, we’re down 38% on Bud Light.”
Bud Light Sales Have Dropped More Than 30% Across Bars in Montana
“The first 18 days of April vs the first 18 days of March were down 38% on Bud Light” pic.twitter.com/DfPh64PBsr
— Chief Nerd (@TheChiefNerd) April 22, 2023
Ashley Winshell, the bartender at another Montana watering hole, Lucky Louie’s, is also seeing a backlash. When her customers talk about Bud Light these days, they are not so complimentary. “A lot of derogatory things and bar talk and things that are not so nice,” she said.
The company’s top brass is definitely aware of the fallout. Anheuser-Busch CEO Brendan Whitworth even issued a statement reiterating the brewery’s support for the “fabric of the country.” However, it wasn’t really an apology and didn’t address the obvious elephant in the room—teaming with Mulvaney—and as RedState‘s Bonchie wrote, didn’t really make anyone happy.
They then released a heavily patriotic ad that featured American flags, manly men, Clydesdales, and beer. Once again, A-B didn’t formally apologize, but the message was clear: please don’t be mad at us.
Meanwhile, vice president of marketing Alissa Heinerscheid, who was the brainchild of the ill-fated campaign, went “on a leave of absence,” followed soon after by her boss Daniel Blake. Brewbound reports that their decision to step away “wasn’t voluntary.”
Anheuser-Busch will survive this brouhaha. Its stock price dipped a bit at times, and at one point its market cap was down by $5 billion, but the stock is still near its 52-week highs.
That being said, the people have spoken, and companies will learn from this ridiculous episode. The lesson is simple: don’t spit in your customers’ faces. Even though A-B will recover from this, they now know that there’s not a lot of benefit to going down the path they chose.
Other companies would be wise to take note.
Heinersheid’s stupidity is only outdone by Whitworth’s. Can’t believe he still has a job. A-B doesn’t realize how betrayed their customer base feels. Bud Light is done. They should have apologized and admitted their stupid woke mistake right away. Now it is to late to recover from.
This article is designed to help stave off the boycott. It won’t and I believe that to make a point Americans will see Budweiser bankrupt and Bud allowed 1 left wing communist zealot destroy them. Too Big To Fail???
I’m not sure it’s a random survey to go by but in my airplane hangar I have a beer refrigerator with multiple brands of beer inside for my friends to enjoy. Represented you find Coors, Miller Lite, Yingling, Corona and an assortment of what I’d call girlie beers. There are 2 cans of Bud lite from a case I bought 30 days ago. While the first 22 Buds disappeared almost at once once the news on Buds new marketing scheme came out the Bud Lite consumption went to zero. Those 2 Buds sure look lonely in there. And yes, the balance of brands are being rapidly depleted.