Bud Light sales struggle in US one year after controversy

Anheuser-Busch InBev's Bud Light brand continues to struggle in the U.S. market more than a year after a controversial partnership with transgender influencer Dylan Mulvaney led to a boycott of the beer. In the company's first-quarter earnings report, released on Wednesday, A-B reported a 2.6% increase in revenue globally but a 9.1% decrease in America. Sales to retailers in the U.S. were down 13.7%, primarily due to a drop in Bud Light volume.

Sales to wholesalers in the U.S. market also saw a decline of 10.1%, and the company's earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation, and amortization (EBITDA) dropped by 19.7%. Total volumes globally were down 0.6% in the quarter, with beer volumes down by 1.3% but non-beer volumes up by 3.5%.

Bud Light sales began to decline in April 2023 after the brand created custom beer cans for Mulvaney to mark "365 days of girlhood." The move and comments from Bud Light's marketing vice president at the time, Alissa Heinerscheid, who expressed a desire to update the brand's image, sparked backlash and calls for a boycott from conservative influencers and celebrities.

As a result, Bud Light lost its long-held position as the top-selling beer in the U.S. to Constellation Brand's Modelo Especial. A-B has made efforts to improve Bud Light's image since the boycott, including new partnerships with UFC and the Olympics and Super Bowl ads focused on patriotism and humor. However, these efforts have had limited success in fully rehabilitating the brand's image and sales in the U.S. market.


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