Bud Light’s brewing controversy over partnering with a transgender influencer continues to bubble over according to April revenue numbers, which showed a precipitous decline for the pilsner brand.
Weeks after the company’s media move made international headlines, sales are down over 26 percent compared to the same time last year while revenue for rivals Coors and Millers are seeing a dollar-for-dollar increase. Controversy erupted when news reports drew attention to the company’s partnership with Instagram influencer Dylan Mulvaney in an attempt to draw new, progressive customers into the fold.
“The shocking deterioration of Bud Light Blue’s market share continued apace through the third week of April — and actually somehow worsened. We’ve never seen such a dramatic shift in national share in such a short period of time,” wrote trade publication Beer Business.
Video online showed a common sight at grocery chains nationwide: cases and cases of Anheuser-Busch beers left untouched while competitor brands were picked off the shelves.
Absolutely insane. The Bud Light boycott is working.
Bud Light sales (outside of restaurants and bars) are down 26.1% for the week ending in April 22nd compared to the previous year.
Sales were down 21.1% for the week prior.
Volumes are down 8% for the year.
Coors Light and… pic.twitter.com/8lM7Y0MwMT
— Collin Rugg (@CollinRugg) May 2, 2023
Once America’s top-selling beer by far, Bud Light’s standing has evaporated after marketing vice president Alissa Gordon Heinerscheid elected to partner with a transgender spokesperson in what she claimed was an attempt to move the longstanding brand away from its blue-collar base. In an interview following the initial frothing, Heinerscheid claimed she intended to shift Bud Light’s “fratty” image and strike a more inclusive tone:
“‘I’m a businesswoman. I had a really clear job to do when I took over Bud Light, and it was this brand is in decline. It’s been in decline for a really long time. And if we do not attract young drinkers to come and drink this brand, there will be no future for Bud Light. So I had this super clear mandate. It’s like we need to evolve and elevate this incredibly iconic brand,” said Heinerscheid.
Conservative celebrities like Kid Rock as well as other influencers have posted videos shooting cases of Bud Light in protest. Memes have percolated as internet users leverage the controversy for every last drop of humor.