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Bud Light Continues to Experience Sales Decline with No Immediate Resolution in Sight

AB InBev Bud Light controversy
In a challenging turn of events, Bud Light has experienced declining sales since its engagement with transgender influencer Dylan Mulvaney.
  • According to Bump Williams Consulting and Nielsen IQ, Bud Light’s sales dropped by a significant 25.7 percent for the week ending May 20.
  • In contrast, its closest competitor from the same company Anheuser-Busch InBev, Modelo Especial, witnessed a sales increase of 9.2 percent during the same week.
  • Pennsylvania-based Yuengling, known as “America’s Oldest Brewery,” has emerged as the biggest winner, with its Yuengling Flight experiencing a substantial increase of 47.6 percent in the four-week period.

The downward trend continues for Bud Light, as its sales have decreased by 24.3 percent for the four-week period ending on May 20. In contrast, Modelo has shown a growth of 8 percent during the same timeframe.

Marketing consultant Bump Williams shared insights to The Drum on the situation, stating,

“While Bud Light loses week after week, Modelo Especial gains week after week, and now Modelo outsells Bud Light on a national basis across all trade channels combined. If this continues, Modelo will surpass Bud Light for the year.”

Anheuser-Busch InBev owns both Modelo and Bud Light. However, Modelo’s operations within the United States are managed by Constellation Brands, a New York-based firm.

Apart from Modelo and Yuengling, other beer brands such as Coors Light, Miller Light, and Pabst Blue Ribbon have also witnessed significant increases in sales. This surge in sales for competing brands coincides with Bud Light’s decision to feature Dylan Mulvaney’s face on their cans and the influencer’s claim of being a partner with Bud Light in early April. This move generated significant backlash on social media, leading analysts to question whether Bud Light’s executives were out of touch with their customer base.

As a result, Bud Light has experienced six consecutive weeks of declining sales, and Anheuser-Busch, the brand’s owner, has seen its shares tumble. HSBC analyst downgraded the company’s stock to hold due to the ongoing “Bud Light crisis.”

Anheuser-Busch InBev’s CEO, Michel Doukeris, has repeatedly emphasized that Bud Light did not engage in a partnership with Dylan Mulvaney, a biological male, and that only one can was produced, which was not intended for sale. Doukeris attributed the decline in sales to social media “confusion” and “misinformation.”

Another analyst, Simon Hales, noted that the negative impact has spread to other Anheuser-Busch beers, including Budweiser, Busch, and Michelob, albeit not to the same extent as Bud Light.

Dave Williams of Bump Williams Consulting suggested that the decline in Bud Light’s sales seems to be plateauing, but the company is far from out of the woods. Williams also highlighted the possibility of increased decline when comparing percentage drops against larger holiday or summer weeks from the previous year.

In an effort to revive sales, Bud Light implemented a Memorial Day rebate campaign, offering a free 15-pack of beer in select locations from May 17 to May 31, providing consumers with up to $15 on Bud Light purchases.

At the local level, Alabama-based Bama Budweiser launched a radio advertisement aimed at re-attracting Bud Light customers. The ad sought to distance itself and Bud Light from Dylan Mulvaney, asserting that Mulvaney is not under contract with Bud Light and that the viral videos were the influencer’s own social media posts distorted by web-based news outlets.

As Bud Light navigates through this challenging period, it remains to be seen whether the brand can regain its former sales momentum. The impact of the controversy and consumer sentiment will continue to shape the future prospects of Bud Light and the wider Anheuser-Busch brand portfolio.


With information from The Drum.

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