Anheuser-Busch distributors in the South were “spooked” by the widespread backlash Bud Light received after teaming up with transgender social media star Dylan Mulvaney.
The intense opposition to Mulvaney promoting the beer has been alarming to Anheuser-Busch distributors, which placed fewer orders after the partnership sparked outrage from conservatives who argued the company is pushing “gender propaganda,” according to a Beer Business Daily report reviewed by Fox News.
“We reached out to a handful of A-B [Anheuser-Busch] distributors who were spooked, most particularly in the Heartland and the South, and even then in their more rural areas,” the popular beer industry trade publication wrote.
Beer Business Daily said it assessed the situation “purely from a marketing and sales perspective,” noting that current data are very limited but “it appears likely Bud Light took a volume hit in some markets over the holiday weekend” since rural customers are also most likely to celebrate Easter.
“Whether it lasts or whether the publicity sparks incremental off-setting demand from over the ideological divide in metro areas, remains to be seen,” the publication wrote, adding that it will be difficult for Bud Light to “appeal to the sensitivities of a new generation of drinkers” without offending some longtime customers.
“I’ve never seen the country so hotly divided, sadly,” the author of the report wrote.
Mulvaney, a popular TikTok influencer with over 10 million followers, was sent packs of Bud Light with her face printed on the cans as part of an ad for the beer company’s March Madness contest.
The influencer is particularly popular among Gen Z — a demographic that beer companies are “desperate” to reach, according to the publication
Bud Light has stood behind its decision to enlist Mulvaney as a brand ambassador, noting the brand works with hundreds of influencers to connect with all of its customers.
“Anheuser-Busch works with hundreds of influencers across our brands as one of many ways to authentically connect with audiences across various demographics and passion points,” a spokesperson for the company told Fox News. “From time to time, we produce unique commemorative cans for fans and for brand influencers, like Dylan Mulvaney. This commemorative can was a gift to celebrate a personal milestone and is not for sale to the general public.”
Bud Light vice president of marketing Alissa Heinerscheid recently said she hoped to update the “fratty” and “out of touch” humor of the beer company and make the brand appeal to younger customers.“I’m a businesswoman, I had a really clear job to do when I took over Bud Light, and it was ‘This brand is in decline, it’s been in a decline for a really long time, and if we do not attract young drinkers to come and drink this brand, there will be no future for Bud Light,” Heinerscheid said in an interview with the podcast “Make Yourself At Home” on March 30.
Bud Light’s backing of Mulvaney hasn’t stopped conservatives from expressing their disdain for the partnership, with some even calling for a boycott of the brand.
Among the critics are conservative rocker Kid Rock, who used several Bud Light cases for target practice, and country musician Travis Tritt, who said Anheuser-Busch products will no longer be on his tour hospitality rider.Both were called out Monday by Howard Stern, who expressed disbelief over the backlash on his SiriusXM and said, “I thought there must be a piece of this story that I’m missing.”
“I wish I could call Kid Rock and have him come on the show and just tell me, ‘Why are you so upset about this? How is it hurtful?’ I don’t know why he got so upset,” the radio host said.
Following a week of headlines, Mulvaney appeared to respond to her critics by sharing a video of herself singing Stephen Sondheim’s “No One Is Alone” from “Into the Woods.”In the clip, taken from an event she held at the Rainbow Room to celebrate her 365th day of womanhood, Mulvaney donned an Audrey Hepburn-style black and pink ball gown.
“Thank you all for making me feel supported, i am not alone️️ #trans,” she captioned the post.