Anheuser-Busch InBev (A-B) leadership recently discussed the impact of Bud Light’s collaboration with a transgender influencer during their earnings call. They acknowledged that the collaboration continues to affect sales, but also highlighted positive developments such as a $1 billion stock buyback and a new sponsorship deal with the UFC.
According to CFO Fernando Tennenbaum, A-B announced a buyback program that will begin soon and take place over the next year. The company reported a 5% increase in global revenue in the third quarter, reaching $15.6 billion. However, U.S. revenue declined by over 13% due to decreased Bud Light sales. CEO Michel Doukeris expressed confidence in the company’s recovery and stated that they have a clear understanding of their next steps.
Doukeris shared that a recent survey indicated that more than 40% of former Bud Light drinkers are willing to return to consuming Bud Light. The brand experienced a significant sales drop this year after a boycott was called for following the collaboration with transgender influencer Dylan Mulvaney. During the summer, Modelo Especial surpassed Bud Light as the top-selling beer in America, ending Bud Light’s two-decade reign.
Doukeris emphasized Bud Light’s multiyear sponsorship of the UFC, highlighting A-B’s commitment to long-term investment in the U.S. He believes the partnership aligns well with Bud Light’s brand. Doukeris also mentioned that customers are returning to brands like Busch Light and Michelob Ultra, in addition to Bud Light, and expects these beers to regain their previous momentum before April.
However, industry consultant Dave “Bump” Williams, who specializes in the alcoholic beverage industry, expressed a different viewpoint. Williams stated that Bud Light’s situation has not significantly changed since April, with consumer trends remaining relatively stable and no notable week-to-week improvements. He believes it will be challenging to regain all of Bud Light’s lost drinkers, as some have permanently shifted their preferences.