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How Bud Light Marketing Controversy Could Affect Share Price

Analysts expect Anheuser-Busch InBev to report second-quarter (Q2) revenue of $15.37 billion
MIAMI, FLORIDA – JULY 27: Bud Light, made by Anheuser-Busch, sits on a store shelf on July 27, 2023 in Miami, Florida. Anheuser-Busch InBev announced it will lay off hundreds of corporate employees as its Bud Light beer sales continue to struggle. (Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images) 

Analysts expect Anheuser-Busch InBev (NYSE: BUD) to report second-quarter (Q2) revenue of $15.37 billion.

The revenue estimate is higher than the $14.79 billion reported in Q2 of the previous year and the $14.21 billion reported in Q1 of 2023.

The beer company missed estimates in the last three quarters, likely due to the controversy surrounding Bud Light and subsequent boycotts, which impacted sales and put pressure on shares.

Estimates from analysts are for the company to report Q2 earnings of 68 cents per share, which would be lower than the 73 cents reported in the same three-month period of last year and higher than the 65 cents reported in the first quarter of 2023.

Bud Light lost the crown of top-selling U.S. beer by retail sales, a position it had held since passing Budweiser in 2001, once it partnered with trans activist and TikTok personality Dylan Mulvaney.

Modelo from Constellation Brands (NYSE: STZ) took the crown in the month of May with a market share of 8.4%, ahead of Bud Light at 7.3%.

Reports have listed Bud Light retail sales down between 20% to 30% year-over-year for weeks in May, June and July.

Along with retail sales being down, hospitality data shows that Bud Light lost market share in bars and restaurants. It dropped from first place to fourth place in July based on market share. Bud Light saw sales drop 34% year-over-year in mid-July and the beer ranked fourth for market share.

Miller Lite, a brand of Molson Coors Beverage Company (NYSE: TAP) ranked first for the time period and saw sales up 20.7% year-over-year. Coors Light ranked third in market share and had sales up 19.4% year-over-year.

The impact of the Bud Light boycott was evident during Molson Coors’ quarterly earnings report Tuesday. The beer company reported an 11.8% year-over-year increase in second quarter net sales.

“We are seeing share and market improvement everywhere, and more consumers are reaching for our beers than our competitors’ beers,” Molson Coors CEO Gavin Hattersley said during the company’s earnings call, as shared by Fox Business.

Molson Coors added 12,000 new tap handles during the quarter, with distributors requesting more beers from the company.

“Coors Light and Miller Lite are now 50% bigger than Bud Light by total industry dollars. Last year, Bud Light was bigger than both. Retailers are making space for our brands as demand increases.”

Molson Coors raised its full-year guidance after the quarterly report, which could show confidence in continuing momentum and taking market share from Bud Light.

The report from Molson Coors may also foreshadow what’s to come when the Bud Light parent company reports Q2 results Thursday.

Another key item to watch could be the momentum from Bud Light’s summer advertising campaign, which the company called its biggest summer campaign ever. The campaign sees commercials, summer concerts and social media promotions with NFL players.

Investors and analysts will also be watching charges related to discounts and rebates to push merchandise during the sales slump and boycott. Heavy discounting and offering to buy back beer from distributors could lead to charges for the beer giant in the second quarter and future quarters.

Shares of Anheuser-Busch InBev are down 5.6% year=to-date in 2023. Shares trade at $56.25 compared to a 52-week trading range of $44.52 to $67.09. Shares of Constellation Brands are up 19.3% year-to-date in 2023. Shares trade at $271.46 compared to a 52-week trading range of $208.12 to $273.44, hitting new-year highs recently. Shares of Molson Coors Beverage are up 37.9% year-to-date in 2023. Shares trade at $68.20 compared to a 52-week trading range of $46.69 to $70.90, hitting new yearly highs recently.


Produced in association with Benzinga

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