Americans drank less beer in 2023 than any other year this century amid a general decline in demand that was spear-pointed by a widespread boycott against Bud Light.
Analysts at Beer Markets Insights say that the boycott–instigated by Bud Light’s sponsorship agreement with transgender influence Dylan Mulvaney–did not explain the whole decline. Instead, BMI vice president and executive editor David Steinman says the boycott only accelerated a more general decline in demand for “domestic premium” brands like Bud Light, Miller Light and Coors Light, according to NBC News.
BMI found that consumption was on track to fall below 200 million barrels in the U.S. for the first time since 1999.
Anheuser Busch did lead the decline in sales, according to BMI. Nevertheless, Coors Light, Miller Light and other top U.S. beers also saw a decline.
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The uproar against Bud Light began in the spring when the company partnered with Mulvaney to celebrate the influencer’s full year spent identifying as a woman. The company delivered Mulvaney cans with the influencer’s face, which were featured in a number of posts online.
The social media videos spurred an angry reaction from conservatives and beer loyalists who felt the classic American brand was abandoning its customer base in favor of far-left identity politics.
Days after the Mulvaney firestorm ignited, remarks by Bud Light’s former Vice President of Marketing Alissa Heinerscheid created more headaches for the company.
Heinerscheid revealed in an interview that she was directed to transform the brand from its “fratty” image to one that was more “inclusive.” Her comments went viral in light of the Mulvaney partnership, adding to the company’s troubles.
As sales began to plummet, Brendan Whitworth, the CEO of Anheuser-Busch, the parent company of Bud Light, addressed the controversy on April 14.
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The CEO claimed the company “never intended to be part of a discussion that divides people,” adding, “We are in the business of bringing people together over a beer.”
By May, Anheuser-Busch had dropped $27 billion in market value and sales were down nearly 30% compared to the previous year.
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Bud Light has been struggling to revamp its public image ever since.
Fox News’ Kristine Parks contributed to this report
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