Anheuser-Busch (AB) has recorded a US$390 million drop in sales in the US because of its partnership with transgender influencer Dylan Mulvaney.
The Daily Mail reported Thursday AB blames the volume decline in Bud Light sales for the drop in revenue in its second quarter, with figures showing total US revenue falling by 10.5% compared to one year earlier.
AB said sales to US retailers plunged 14%, adding it had underperformed the industry as a direct result of the collaboration with Mulvaney. For the second quarter of 2022, it sold US$2.73 billion worth of beer to retailers. For the second quarter of 2023, sales dropped to US$2.35 billion.
Bud Light’s popularity has been dropping since AB teamed up with Mulvaney in April and gave him a personalized promotional can.
It blamed the declining sales on the backlash it faced for partnering with Mulvaney and issuing the promotional can.
The can was gifted to Mulvaney who was celebrating 365 days as a girl — the phrase he uses to describe his transition from male to female.
It triggered outrage among drinkers, who accused Bud Light of trying to force progressive beliefs on them and their favourite brand.
The collaboration acted as a lightning rod for people concerned about progressive ideologies and gave them a direct means of hurting a brand which backed them.
Bud Light has been dethroned at the top of the beverage sales by AB brand Modelo Especial, taking more than a US$27 billion hit in market value.
It owns Modelo in countries outside of the US after an anti-trust settlement with the Department of Justice in 2013 over fears it would stifle competition.Sales of Modelo in the US are controlled by rival Constellation Brands and do not count as part of its global volumes.
Modelo surpassed Bud Light’s $297 million, which was a 22.8% fall in sales compared to the same time last year. It reported an 11% increase in sales for the second quarter of this year.
It is the first time since 2001 Bud Light has not been in the top spot, when it dethroned its sister brand Budweiser.
Mulvaney said in June his partnership with Bud Light led to him facing more bullying and transphobia than he would have imagined. “I should have made this video months ago, but I didn’t,” he said.
“I was scared of more backlash and I felt personally guilty for what transpired.” AB said on July 27 it would lay off about 400 employees at its corporate offices because sales have plunged.
It has about 19,000 employees. However, it said job cuts would impact less than 2% of its workforce.
Its restructuring would eliminate corporate and marketing positions at their main US offices in St. Louis, New York City, and Los Angeles.