The Hurt Won't Stop—Bud Light Fiasco Causes Bottling Plants to Cut Production, Lay off 645 Workers

Bud Light's sales woes cause bottling plants to close. (Credit: WRAL News)

The hits keep coming for Bud Light and its parent company Anheuser-Busch after their disastrous marketing partnership with transgender TikTok personality Dylan Mulvaney. Sales of the beer fell off a cliff, A-B has lost billions in market value, and Modelo has taken over as the number one brew in ‘Merica.


There’s a human cost as well, as glass bottling company The Ardagh Group was forced to cut production and lay off nearly 650 employees due to lack of demand. The company didn’t directly tie the controversy to its decisions, but since Bud Light was one of its top customers, it’s pretty clear that’s the reason they made the moves:

The Ardagh Group, one of the largest glass producers in the world, announced last week it was shuttering its Wilson, North Carolina, and Simsboro, Louisiana, plants on July 17. The Wilson plant employed nearly 400 people, and the Simsboro plant had 245 — all of whom now find themselves without jobs.

The company did not cite a reason for the closures in its statement, just saying it was part of a “multi-year performance optimization program.”

The boycott feels like a watershed moment to many:

Despite the bottling company saying that the cuts were part of a “multi-year performance optimization program,” North Carolina TV station WRAL investigated and found otherwise.


Both plants were forced to put some of their machines offline amid the decreased demand, which was “of course, being pointed towards the Bud Light situation,” James Munhall, a journeyman machine repair mechanic, told WRAL.

By May 18, an internal memo obtained by the news station, company executives said they would shut down the two plants “due to slow sales with Anheuser-InBev,” the parent company of Budweiser and Bud Light.

Longtime employees explained that the majority of their business was making bottles for Budweiser and Bud Light.

If Anheuser-Busch thought that this would all quickly fade, they were sorely mistaken. They’ve tried to address the issue but seem unable to do anything right. Their newest commercials have been pilloried on social media, they finally fired the executives behind the disaster, Dylan Mulvaney slammed the company for not supporting him, they sponsored a Pride parade that featured naked people near children, a hysterical rap song mocking the brand topped the charts, the beer lost its spot as the #1 beer in America to rival Modelo, and A-B’s CEO finally addressed the controversy in a message that mostly fell flat.


This Tweet from a parody account kind of sums things up:

Update: The user who was responsible for the meme that accompanied the above post has apparently been suspended, which I’m guessing is why the image is no longer appearing. The photo was of beer steins and hot dogs and said something similar to “Bud Light and weiners go well together.”

I’ve been frankly astonished that this pushback has lasted this long and has had such a huge impact on the company. My initial reaction was that a boycott wouldn’t stick and that it wouldn’t have a serious impact on the brewing giant. We’ve seen other attempted boycotts fail to gain traction. However, between this and retailer Target’s similar woes, we’re seeing that many people are getting tired of the endless political messaging forced onto us by woke companies.

The sad thing here, however, is that workers who had nothing to do with the Mulvaney partnership are paying the price.

“They’re descendants of the family that’s also worked in the industry,”  Munhall said of the laid-off employees. “Not only are you killing an employee’s job, you’re killing his family, his chances at sending his kids to college.”


Update: This article was updated to reflect that the “Bud Light and weiners” tweet is from a parody account, and then again again regarding the Twitter suspension.


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