Bud Light sales have been hit the hardest in North and South Carolina as the beer brand has dealt with a multi-month fallout after it promoted transgender influencer Dylan Mulvaney, according to a report from data company, Union.
Between April and June 30, Bud Light’s sales shared fell by 12.5 percent, or 6.9 points, from 19.4 percent to 12.5 percent, according to the firm in a report on July 19. The report noted the boycott saw the least impact in California.
The report found that in the same time period, Miller Lite’s sales share increased by about 3 points to 16.4 percent overall in those two states.
After the Carolinas, Bud Light’s sales share dropped 5.1 points in New York and New Jersey. It now stands at 10.5 percent from 15.5 percent, while Miller Lite’s sales share has increased to 5.1 percent, according to the firm.
Notably, Bud Light lost more ground in those two northeastern states than it did in Texas, which saw a 2.4 percent decline to 5.6 percent, it found. Miller Lite’s sales share increased to 12 percent in the Lone Star State.
In California, where the transgender influencer is from, the boycott had a near-negligible effect on Bud Light’s sales, according to Union.
“Bud Light’s sales impact varies across markets,” it said. “Notably, the brand lost more share in markets where it was most entrenched. Looking at a representative selection of Union markets, North and South Carolina showed the biggest sales share decreases, while in California, the boycott’s impact was practically negligible.”
Union also wrote that the dollar sales share of Bud Light has declined “in all of Union’s top markets, and not necessarily representative of politically conservative demographics, with New York and New Jersey losing almost as many points as Texas.”
The Light Group, a Hoboken, New Jersey-based restaurant group, said that other beer sales have increased in the midst of the Bud Light backlash.
“We saw our numbers go up across the board for those specific brands,” Brandon Bovino, chief operating officer at The Light Group, told Union. “We haven’t seen customers mad at us for carrying [Bud Light], more so customers commenting on purchases from other customers.”
Chris Dimattia, the owner of Recovery Room Tavern in South Carolina, said he used to sell 10 cases of Bud Light per week on average. Now, he sells as few as one case per week, marking a 70-to-90 percent drop in sales.
The manager of another bar in Charleston, Blind Tiger Pub, also indicated that Bud Light’s sales are “almost non-existent” since the boycott. “At first I thought this might blow over pretty quick, but I think it is pretty apparent that this isn’t going anywhere for a long time,” manager Clayton Dukes said, noting that the low sales caused him to swap Bud Light with Michelob Ultra, another Anheuser-Busch-owned beer.
Other Sales Figures
Recent industry data show that sales of the light beer dropped 23.6 percent in the weekly period ending on July 8 as compared with the same period a year ago, according to Bump Williams Consulting, citing NielsenIQ data.
Over the same period, sales of Coors Light increased by 30.2 percent, Miller Lite jumped 25.2 percent, and Modelo Especial was up 20.7 percent. The most recent Bud Light drop is smaller than the two weeks prior, when it declined by 28.5 percent and by 27.9 percent, respectively, the data show.
However, a report from the Daily Caller, citing industry data, found that other Anheuser-Busch brands have suffered, too, as Budweiser saw a 6.6 percent drop in sales in the week ending July 8.
The sales slump started when Bud Light made a beer can with the transgender influencer’s face on the front before it was posted the can on social media, declaring the two were partners. Anheuser-Busch executives later told analysts in May that there was no official partnership and that one can was made.
Brendan Whitworth, Anheuser-Busch’s U.S. CEO, has avoided publicly and explicitly defending the Mulvaney promotional materials. However, he also hasn’t apologized or described the collaboration as a mistake.
When he was asked about the transgender controversy, Mr. Whitworth told CBS News: “Over the last month, we’ve talked to over 100,000 consumers and their feedback is very clear.
“The feedback is to reinforce what Bud Light has always meant to them, which is good times, goodwill, and easy enjoyment.”
Responding to a decline in weekly sales last week, a spokesperson for Anheuser-Busch told news outlets that for the year-to-date period, Bud Light is the “No. 1 brand in the industry” in terms of both dollars and overall volume, at an “8.7 share.”
“The Anheuser-Busch portfolio continues to be the leader of the category as the No. 1 brewer at 35.6 share in the latest week,” the spokesperson said.