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Craft Breweries Struggle As Bud Light Sales Plunge

Financial difficulties and changing consumer preferences leave smaller brewers in a tough spot.

While major beer brands like Bud Light are currently facing challenges, smaller brewers aren’t necessarily reaping the benefits either. Many craft breweries are grappling with financial difficulties, leading some to shut their doors for good.

A picture of a Bud Light can. Metropolitan Brewery filed for bankruptcy in the wake of the Dylan Mulvaney partnership with Bud Light. (CHRISTOPHE DION/UNSPLASHED) 

Following the fallout from its collaboration with transgender influencer Dylan Mulvaney, Bud Light, once America’s top-selling beer, witnessed a staggering 25% drop in sales.

The company faced a backlash from normal Bud Light customers that refused to buy the brand in association with the transgender movement. 

The decline hasn’t translated to a windfall for smaller brewers. Rather, mass-market beer brands such as Modelo, Coors Light and Miller Lite have seen their market shares expand, The Street reported. 

Coors Brewing Company was able to surge in sales against Bud Light’s parent company InBev.

The craft beer sector, which has already been hit hard by the COVD-19 pandemic, seems to be facing a downturn. San Francisco’s iconic Anchor Brewing Company, which had been in operation since 1896, is one of the casualties of this trend.

The company’s swift decision to limit distribution to California was soon followed by an announcement of its closure and liquidation.

This narrative isn’t isolated to Anchor Brewing — a quick online search reveals numerous craft breweries facing similar fates.

One such brewery reportedly facing challenges is Metropolitan Brewing, which is among Chicago’s earliest craft breweries. The company recently filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy, primarily due to its inability to cover back rent. The brewery’s decision to relocate to a more expensive venue in 2017 seems to have exacerbated its financial woes. In a Facebook post, the owners acknowledged the bankruptcy but assured patrons of their intent to continue operations.

“Yeah, it’s true. Earlier this week, we filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection. This is the ‘reorganization’ type of bankruptcy, meant to help us right our ship. The details are super boring. Importantly, we are still open, and we have no plans to change that status,” the company’s owners said, according to The Street. 

The broader craft beer industry, as a whole, is transforming. Larry Clouser, a seasoned brewery owner in Oregon, highlighted the nationwide decline in sales.

Changing consumer preferences have seen fluctuations in the popularity of craft beer, with wine and spirits gaining traction. “Honestly, it’s not just Portland; brewery sales are down nationwide,” Clouser told The Street.



Produced in association with Benzinga

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