Sales of Bud Light beer are down by over a quarter, year on year, after the disastrous partnership with transgender influencer Dylan Mulvaney.
The beer brand presented Mulvaney with personalized cans showing her face, which she promoted on April 1.
Fans of the beer erupted in fury. A boycott was declared, Kid Rock used Bud Light cans as target practice, and $5 billion was wiped off the value of the brand. Two senior marketing executives have taken leave of absence amid the fiasco.
On Sunday, Beer Business Daily reported that the beer’s off-premise sales volume – meaning the amount of beer sold outside of restaurants and bars – had fallen by 26.1 percent from a year earlier in the week ended April 22.
Sales were down 21.1 percent in the prior week. While competitors, Coors Light and Miller Lite, saw consumers turning to their brands as both have had an increase in sales.
So far this year, Bud Light volumes are down 8 percent.’The shocking deterioration of Bud Light Blue’s market share continued apace through the third week of April – and actually somehow worsened.
‘We’ve never seen such a dramatic shift in national share in such a short period of time,’ Beer Business Daily wrote on its website.
Coors Light’s volume was up 13.3 percent for the same time period, and Miller Lite rose 13.6 percent.
Last week senior executives at parent company Anheuser-Busch held a closed-door meeting with distributors in Washington, DC, where they laid out future plans – and promised to ‘spend heavily’ on Bud Light to salvage its public image, according to reports.
Benj Steinman, editor of Beer Marketer’s Insights, said that spending on the brand ‘fell off a cliff last year,’ but Anheuser-Busch leaders are promising to rectify the situation, New York Post reported. On top of the marketing blitz, executives working for Bud Light will also go through a more rigorous screening process, according to one Northeast-based beer distributor who spoke to The New York Post.
‘There will be an improved screening process before any marketing hits the public. Executives will have to go through a more rigorous screening process,’ Bud Light execs said during Zoom meetings this month.
Last month, Donald Trump Jr called for an end to the boycott of Bud Light, in a video posted on his Rumble channel.
During his message, Trump Jr emphasized the brewer’s conservative credentials and said it was wrong to ‘blame the whole company for the inaction or the stupidity of someone in a marketing campaign that got woke as hell.’
Trump Jr said he had researched Anheuser-Busch and saw they mainly donated to Republicans, and said his fellow conservatives sometimes had ‘the tendency of — shooting first and aiming second.’
In the video, the former president’s son pointed to Anheuser-Busch’s support of Republicans including Ohio Senator JD Vance and California Rep. Kevin McCarthy. Trump Jr. said that the decision to partner with Mulvaney was reportedly made by a low-level marketing employee, rather than the senior executives.
‘We looked into the political giving and lobbying history of Anheuser-Busch. And guess what? They actually support Republicans,’ said Trump Jr.
‘Last cycle their employees and their PAC gave about 60 percent to Republicans and 40 percent to Democrats. That’s literally almost unheard of in corporate America, where it’s really easy to go woke, where they do so constantly, where there’s a consequence to actually being a conservative. So 60 / 40 to the conservative side is kind of a big deal.’
The 45-year-old said he also respected the St Louis-based beer company’s corporate approach.
‘On the lobbying front, we looked into the bills that Anheuser-Busch was working on,’ he said.
‘You know what they’re focused on, guys? They’ve focused on taxes and trade things that actually impact their business. They haven’t done any lobbying for like the random pet issues of the day and the nonsense and the BLM crap — I didn’t find that — they focused on the things that affect their job.’
The CEO, Brendan Whitworth, is a former Marine and CIA agent who has been registered as a Republican for most of his adult life.Trump Jr said he disagreed with boycotting a 170-year-old company for one mistake.
‘So here’s the deal,’ he said.
‘Anheuser-Busch totally s the bed with this Dylan Mulvaney thing.
‘I’m not, though, for destroying an American and iconic company for something like this.’
He added: ‘When I actually look into it, I’m not going to blame the whole company for the inaction or the stupidity of someone in a marketing campaign that got woke as hell.
‘The company itself doesn’t participate in the same leftist nonsense as the other big conglomerates.’
He said he loves ‘going after people when they screw up,’ but felt the Bud Light boycott had gone too far.
His comments echo those of Howard Stern and Joe Rogan, who both argued that it was excessive.
‘I think sometimes we do have the tendency of shooting first and aiming second, not looking into the details,’ said Trump Jr.
He concluded: ‘So they’ve been put on notice. I’m leaving them alone.
‘I think you should probably do the same — if they do it again — they’ve been warned.’