Bud Light Sales Crash Deepens Amid Boycott Over Pro-Trans Campaign
The crash in retail sales of Bud Light has deepened amid conservative calls for a boycott following the brand’s partnership with transgender influencer Dylan Mulvaney, according to a beer industry report.
Tracking data on Bud Light sold in places like supermarkets and liquor stores (off-premise sales volumes outside of restaurants and bars) fell by an annualized 26.1 percent in the week ended April 22, according to Beer Business Daily.
“The shocking deterioration of Bud Light Blue’s market share continued apace through the third week of April—and actually somehow worsened. We’ve never seen such a dramatic shift in national share in such a short period of time,” Beer Business Daily wrote in commentary on the scanner volume data.
A comparison to earlier data shows that the Bud Light sales slump has deepened. Bud Light’s off-premise sales dropped 21.1 percent for the week ended April 15, which followed a 10.7 percent decline for the week ended on April 8, according to Beer Business Daily.
It comes amid fallout from Bud Light’s partnership with Mulvaney, a male who identifies as a woman. Mulvaney rose to fame for chronicling a transition he dubbed “365 Days of Girlhood.”
“This month I celebrated my day 365 of womanhood and Bud Light sent me possibly the best gift ever—a can with my face on it,” Mulvaney said on April Fool’s Day in announcing the deal.
Mulvaney, who has over 10 million followers on TikTok, posted a series of videos advertising Bud Light and showing off the personalized can, sparking outrage among conservatives, some of whom accused the brand of promoting a transgender agenda and called for a boycott.
Singer Kid Rock used Bud Light cans as target practice to express his anger at the promotional campaign, while Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis said he would be boycotting Bud Light.
The latest Bud Light sales figures suggest the boycott is having an impact.
“This means our Bud Light boycott is the most successful in history,” media personality Benny Johnson, host of “The Benny Show,” said in a post on Twitter.
Anheuser-Busch, which makes Bud Light, did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
The campaign involving Mulvaney was the brainchild of Alissa Heinerscheid, vice president of marketing, who has since been placed on leave.
Heinerscheid was hired in June 2022 and tasked with revamping Bud Light’s brand image. A day before Mulvaney announced his partnership with Bud Light, Heinerscheid said in an interview on the “Make Yourself At Home” podcast that she was looking to transform the image of the brand.
“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,’” she said.
Heinerscheid added that she believed that for the brand to evolve, it must incorporate “inclusivity” and that means “having a campaign that’s truly inclusive, and feels lighter and brighter and different.”
“We had this hangover, I mean Bud Light had been kind of a brand of fratty, kind of out-of-touch humor, and it was really important that we had another approach,” she added.
Following the rollout of the campaign involving Mulvaney, Anheuser-Busch saw its market value plunge over $5 billion.
Amid the backlash, a spokesperson for Anheuser-Busch defended the partnership with Mulvaney in a statement to Fox News.
“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 the outlet.
“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.”
Anheuser-Busch CEO Brendan Whitworth issued a statement on April 14 that addressed the controversy.
Whitworth said the company “never intended to be part of a discussion that divides people” but stopped short of explicitly mentioning Mulvaney or the campaign.
Anheuser-Busch later released an ad steeped in patriotic symbolism, including the company’s signature Clydesdale horse mascot trotting by iconic landmarks and people raising the American flag.
The ad was met with a critical response by many online users, some of whom framed it as a hypocritical attempt to win back conservatives outraged by the brand’s previous campaign.