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Anheuser-Busch exec steps down after Bud Light sales slump following Dylan Mulvaney controversy

Anheuser-Busch InBev’s U.S. chief marketing officer is leaving the beverage giant following public backlash over a promotion that led to a sharp drop in sales of Bud light, one of the company’s most important products.

Benoit Garbe, who joined Anheuser-Busch in 2021, will resign at the end of the year “in order to embark on a new chapter in his career,” the company said in a statement to CBS MoneyWatch. The company’s US chief commercial officer, Kyle Norrington, will oversee the brewery’s marketing initiatives following Garbe’s departure.

“These senior leadership changes will accelerate our return to growth as we continue to focus on what we do best — brewing great beer for everyone and earning our place in moments that matter,” Anheuser-Busch CEO Brendan Whitworth said in the statement.

The move comes only months after some consumers boycotted Bud Light over its partnership with transgender TikToker Dylan Mulvaney in April, hurting sales of the popular beer. The boycott was amplified by several conservative celebrities who publicly denounced the brand for its decision to team with Mulvaney on the promotion.

In one viral video, musician Kid Rock shot up several cases of the brew with a rifle to signal his disapproval of the brand. In an interview this week with Fox News, the rapper said he no longer wanted to be seen as supporting the boycott because of its impact on Anheuser-Busch workers.

“As a conservative — more importantly a patriot — I don’t want to be in the party of cancel cultures and boycotts that ultimately hurt working class people that have no dogs especially in this fight,” he added.Bud Light sales fell 28% for the week ending June 24 versus the same period last year, while competitors such as Yuengling Lager, Coors Light and Miller Lite notched double-digit gains during the same key summer month for beer sales, according to beer tracker Bump Williams Consulting.

AB InBev also recorded a 13.5% drop in its U.S. revenue per 100 liters, a key metric for measuring beer sales, during the third quarter of 2023, the company’s financial statement shows.

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