Beer brand Bud Light has had a rough year with controversy surrounding the brand impacting sales and putting pressure on shares.
The beer brand, owned by Anheuser-Busch InBev (NYSE: BUD), saw its retail market share fall in recent months and a new report pointed to new struggles at bars and restaurants.
Boycotts against the Bud Light brand over a partnership with trans activist Dylan Mulvaney sent shares of Anheuser-Busch InBev lower.
Zenger News previously reported the impact of the boycott saw Bud Light lose the crown of top-selling U.S. beer by retail sales, a position it had held since passing Budweiser in 2001. Modelo from Constellation Brands (NYSE: STZ) took the crown in the month of May with a market share of 8.4%.
In the month of May, Bud Light dropped to second place in the retail rankings with a 7.3% market share. Reports said Bud Light retail sales were down 23.9% year-over-year. Ranking behind Bud Light was Coors Light at 6.2% and Miller Lite at 5.3%, two brands owned by Molson Coors Beverages (NYSE: TAP).
The week ending June 20 saw Bud Light sales fall 28.5% year-over-year. The week ending July 15 saw retail sales of Bud Light down 26.1% year-over-year.
A new report from the New York Post, citing hospitality data from Union pointed to a similar picture for beer sales at bars and restaurants.
The report had Bud Light dropping from first place to fourth place for the week ending July 15 ranked by market share.
Ranking first for the week was Miller Lite, which had sales up 20.7% year-over-year. Second place was Michelob Ultra, which had sales up 3.6% year-over-year. Third place went to Coors Light, which had sales up 19.4% year-over-year.
Bud Light saw sales drop 34% year-over-year in the report and ranked fourth for market share.
The report also listed Guinness, which is owned by Diageo PLC (NYSE: DEO), and Yuengling as beer brands lurking close behind Bud Light.
Experts see the impact of the boycotts lasting at least through the summer.
Along with seeing lower sales at stores and retailers, Bud Light is now losing its mainstay of being the most popular beer at restaurants at bars. The company is losing market share to rivals: two of the three beers that beat it are owned by Molson Coors.
Bud Light launched a huge summer advertising campaign, which it called its biggest summer campaign ever. The campaign had commercials, summer concerts and will include social media promotions with country musicians and NFL players.
Reports of Bud Light discounts and rebates during the Fourth of July holiday did little to win back market share according to recent reports.
Heavy discounting and offering to buy back beer from distributors could lead to charges for the beer giant in future quarters.
Along with declining sales, Bud Light has also found itself facing a potential battle with Florida governor and presidential candidate Ron DeSantis.
Taking a look at the share returns of the beer companies shows what the negativity of the boycotts and market share losses have done for investors.
Shares of Anheuser-Busch InBev are down 1.7% year-to-date in 2023. Shares trade at $58.62 compared to a 52-week trading range of $44.51 to $67.09.
Shares of Constellation Brands are up 19.4% year-to-date in 2023. Shares hit a new 52-week high of $272.87 on Wednesday.
Shares of Molson Coors are up 42.4% year-to-date in 2023. Shares hit a new 52-week high of $70.90 on Wednesday.
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Edited by Suparba Sil