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Bud Light sales continue to fall following Mulvaney backlash

Bud Light sales continue to fall, reflecting the continued backlash from the brand’s decision to hire transgender influencer Dylan Mulvaney as a spokesperson.

According to data cited by beverage industry trade publication Beer Business Daily, Bud Light sales volumes for the week ending May 13 fell 28.4%, continuing a downward trend from the 27.7% drop observed the previous week.

At a time of deep cultural and political divisions in the United States, light beer drinkers simply don’t want to be dragged into another values ​​debate, said Harry Schuhmacher, editor and publisher of Beer Business Daily.

“Most people don’t care about this issue and don’t want to get drawn into a conversation,” Schuhmacher said. “Therefore, they won’t buy the beer.”

Given the wide range of choices available to beer drinkers, switching brands is easy, he said.

A spokesperson for Anheuser-Busch InBev, the parent company of Bud Light, did not respond to a request for comment.

Mulvaney began his partnership with Bud Light on the weekend of the NCAA Men’s and Women’s Basketball National Championship in early April. She shared a sponsored post on her Instagram account with her 1.2 million followers promoting Bud Light’s March Madness contest.

The social media reaction from conservatives, many of whom had previously targeted Mulvaney – best known for her TikTok series “Days of Girlhood” – was swift.

Initially, Bud Light’s response was to ignore the critics, saying Mulvaney was just one of hundreds of influencers he worked with. But as the crisis snowballed, it moved Alissa Heinerscheid – the first woman in charge of Bud Light marketing – and her boss Daniel Blake on furlough, multiple news outlets reported.

The story has only grown amid the broader national debate over the civil rights of transgender people, which has seen several states pass laws restricting gender-affirming medical care and barring other resources to the trans community.

AB InBev previously partnered with the LGBTQ+ community and also worked with Mulvaney on another campaign, Schuhmacher said.

Bud Light’s success, he said, is simply a matter of the wrong place and the wrong time.

“It looks like an unlucky draw,” he said. “The timing, the zeitgeist and the divided environment all combined to create this incredible boycott that no one could have foreseen.”

AB InBev shares have fallen more than 10% since Mulvaney’s social media post went live. In a note to clients released Tuesday, JPMorgan analysts said that even if Bud Light’s sales decline stabilizes, “We believe there is a subset [of] American consumers who will not be drinking Bud Light for the foreseeable future. »

“No one imagined it would last this long,” Schuhmacher said. He continued: “It seems random – it touched a nerve. I’ve never seen anything like it, in all the [consumer packaged goods] industry. It’s a real shock.”


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