Anheuser-Busch, the parent company of embattled beer brand Bud Light, hired veteran Republican lobbyists who are trying to win back conservatives upset by the company’s partnership with Dylan Mulvaney.
Bud Light has hemorrhaged sales in recent weeks after executives partnered with Mulvaney, a man who claims to be a woman and chronicled his purported gender transition on social media. Anheuser-Busch hired two lobbyists from Origin Advocacy to discuss “general policy regarding the alcohol-beverage industry” with lawmakers, according to a document filed in accordance with the Lobbying Disclosure Act.
Sean McLean, who served as an associate director for the White House under former President Donald Trump, as well as a legislative director for Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) and Sen. Marsha Blackburn (R-TN) when she was a member of the House, was listed in the disclosure as an individual “who has acted or is expected to act as a lobbyist” for Anheuser-Busch. Emily Lynch, who worked as a legislative assistant for former Sen. Kelly Ayotte (R-NH) and Rep. Virginia Foxx (R-NC), was also listed in the disclosure.
The American Accountability Foundation, a conservative research and government oversight nonprofit, warned congressional staffers in an email obtained by The Daily Wire that the lobbyists were “making the rounds” in order to “red-wash Bud Light’s disastrous decision to partner with a man pretending to be a woman and tell you the company really does respect conservative values.” The lobbyists allegedly compared the commemorative Bud Light cans featuring Mulvaney to a similar effort honoring World War II veterans.
“This is exactly the kind of behavior that the American people hate, telling people you’re a rock-ribbed conservative one day and then shilling for a company who is an active participant in destroying the values Americans cherish the next when you can make buckets of cash doing it,” Thomas Jones, the founder of the American Accountability Foundation, said in the email.
The lobbying effort comes as Anheuser-Busch sustains heavy backlash from conservatives that has translated to diminished financial performance. Sales for draft beer products marketed by Anheuser-Busch fell as much as 50% in the immediate aftermath of the campaign and continue to decline weeks after the controversy as beer enthusiasts search for alternatives.
Alissa Heinerscheid, a marketing executive for Bud Light who was responsible for the Mulvaney campaign and is now on a leave of absence, previously stated that she wanted to change the “fratty” brand image Bud Light projects and introduce more “inclusivity” to the product.
Other brand managers for Bud Light have likewise failed to make amends with customers unnecessarily alienated by the partnership with Mulvaney. Anheuser-Busch CEO Brendan Whitworth issued a statement in response to the controversy but did not make mention of Mulvaney or apologize to customers.
“We never intended to be part of a discussion that divides people,” the executive said. “We are in the business of bringing people together over a beer.”
Mulvaney continues to have a seemingly bottomless demand from companies desiring his endorsement even as their consumer bases voice frustration: makeup brand Ulta Beauty and fashion house Kate Spade have each partnered with the influencer, as have grocery delivery service Instacart, toothpaste brand Crest, and skin care line CeraVe.