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Bud Light Sales Plummet After Backlash Over Transgender Activist Link

Boycotts and celebrity backlash contribute to a 28.5% drop in sales, knocking Bud Light off the top-selling beer spot in the US

Top beer brand Bud Light has faced a challenging 2023 with public boycotts and backlash over a link to transgender activist Dylan Mulvaney.

Sales of Bud Light have dropped after boycotts calling the company a “woke brand.”. Celebrities and musicians were among those who have turned their backs on the former bestselling beer brand.

Anti-Bud Light beer graffiti is seen scrawled on the side of a trailer home on June 21, 2023, in Arco, Idaho. Bud Light parent company AB InBev, the largest beer producer by volume in the world, ran afoul of core drinkers after an effort to broaden appeal through a promotion that included transgender influencer Dylan Mulvaney backfired, resulting in sales to plummet nearly 30 percent, according to published reports. (NATALIE BEHRING/GETTY IMAGES)

Bud Light, which is a unit of Anheuser-Busch InBev (NYSE: BUD) has seen sales drop in 2023, knocking the beer brand off the leaderboard as the top-selling beer in the U.S.

In the most recent week ending June 20, sales of Bud Light have dropped 28.5% year-over-year, according to the New York Post. The drop follows the month of May that saw sales of Bud Light down 23.9% year-over-year. 

Anheuser-Busch US CEO Brendan Whitworth was interviewed on “CBS Mornings” this week and faced several questions regarding the past relationship between Bud Light and Mulvaney and what the company does moving forward.

“Just to be clear, it was a gift, and it was one can,” said Whitworth of the relationship with Mulvaney.

Whitworth was asked directly if it was a mistake to work with Mulvaney and if the company and the activist would work together again.

The Anheuser-Busch executive avoided answering the question directly and trended on social media Wednesday for his mostly non-answer.

“There’s a big social conversation going on right now. It’s moved away from beer and Bud Light doesn’t belong in this divisive conversation.”

Whitworth added that Anheuser-Busch has been supporting the LGBTQ community for over 25 years.

“We will continue to support the communities and organizations that we have supported for decades.”

The executive was asked why, if the company supports LGBTQ communities, it also donates money to the campaigns of anti-LGBTQ politicians.

“We support politicians who support our business and allow us to grow.”

While he dodged answering the big question directly, Whitworth said the controversy is his responsibility, and he’s accountable for everything the company does.

Benzinga recently shared that Anheuser-Busch is launching its biggest summer campaign for Bud Light ever. The campaign features commercials, concert events, cash giveaways and social media partnerships.

The beer brand partnered with NFL players Travis Kelce, Dak Prescott and George Kittle for social media campaigns around the beer brand.

Whitworth said the company is investing heavily in the Bud Light brand this year and also working on providing financial support to distributors, who have been hurt by the sales slide of the brands.

“Money has gone out,” said Whitworth.

Shares of Anheuser-Busch InBev are down 0.55% to $55.59 on Thursday versus a 52-week trading range of $44.51 to $67.09. Shares of the beer company are down 7% year-to-date while other beer stocks are positive.

Produced in association with Benzinga

Edited by Alberto Arellano and Jessi Rexroad Shull

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