Bud Light Sales Fall off a Cliff, Rivals Gain

(AP Photo/Jeff Roberson, File)

While many conservatives cried for a boycott of Bud Light after its marketing partnership with transgender TikTok personality Dylan Mulvaney was revealed, others argued that boycotts don’t work.


Don’t tell that to brewery giant Anheuser-Busch, because sales of Bud Light have plunged a stunning 17 percent since the controversy started. In fact, the trend is accelerating:

The latest sales data from NielsenIQ and Bump Williams Consulting shows that Bud Light sales fell 17% in dollars, while volume dropped a whopping 21% in the week ended April 15.

That’s sharply ahead of the 6% drop in sales dollars and 11% drop in volume that Bud Light had suffered during the week ended April 8 — the seven days that immediately followed the April 1 launch of the controversial Mulvaney campaign on social media.

That’s a whole lot of beer.

“These numbers are staggering,” says an April 23 report from Insights Express, a beer-focused newsletter. “Right now this is an extremely difficult scenario for Anheuser Busch, the Bud Light brand and for AB distributors.”

Bud Light’s competitors meanwhile are having a party. Those in the mood for watery light brew have turned elsewhere:

Bud Light lost 6.7% of market share last week, while Coors Light and Miller Lite are up 18%, according to the newsletter. A week earlier, Coors Light’s market share was up 10.6% over the same period and Miller Lite up 11.5%.


The numbers get even worse when you look at bars and restaurants:

Overall, Bud Light’s volume declined by 34.7% at bars, restaurants and other venues between April 2 and April 15, according to BeerBoard. Bud Light dropped to the No. 4 draft beer from No. 3 during the second week of the controversy, switching places with Coors Light, Brewbound reported on Monday.

Aaron Swain, the owner of the Red Door bar in Billings, Montana, is seeing the sales decline firsthand.

“We have seen a decline month to date,” Swain said last week. “The first 18 days of April versus the first 18 days of March, we’re down 38% on Bud Light.”


Ashley Winshell, the bartender at another Montana watering hole, Lucky Louie’s, is also seeing a backlash. When her customers talk about Bud Light these days, they are not so complimentary. “A lot of derogatory things and bar talk and things that are not so nice,” she said.

The company’s top brass is definitely aware of the fallout. Anheuser-Busch CEO Brendan Whitworth even issued a statement reiterating the brewery’s support for the “fabric of the country.”  However, it wasn’t really an apology and didn’t address the obvious elephant in the room—teaming with Mulvaney—and as RedState‘s Bonchie wrote, didn’t really make anyone happy.


They then released a heavily patriotic ad that featured American flags, manly men, Clydesdales, and beer. Once again, A-B didn’t formally apologize, but the message was clear: please don’t be mad at us.

Meanwhile, vice president of marketing Alissa Heinerscheid, who was the brainchild of the ill-fated campaign, went “on a leave of absence,” followed soon after by her boss Daniel Blake. Brewbound reports that their decision to step away “wasn’t voluntary.”

Anheuser-Busch will survive this brouhaha. Its stock price dipped a bit at times, and at one point its market cap was down by $5 billion, but the stock is still near its 52-week highs.

That being said, the people have spoken, and companies will learn from this ridiculous episode. The lesson is simple: don’t spit in your customers’ faces. Even though A-B will recover from this, they now know that there’s not a lot of benefit to going down the path they chose.

Other companies would be wise to take note.


The opinions expressed by contributors are their own and do not necessarily represent the views of RedState.com.


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