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Bud Light’s sales have plummeted 17% since the beer brand’s marketing partnership with trans-identifying influencer Dylan Mulvaney.
Bud Light sales fell 17% in dollars and 21% in volume in the week that ended April 15, according to the latest sales data from NielsenIQ and Bump Williams Consulting.
“These numbers are staggering,” according to Insights Express, a beer-focused newsletter. “Right now this is an extremely difficult scenario for Anheuser Busch, the Bud Light brand and for AB distributors.”
“This month I celebrated my day 365 of womanhood, and Bud Light sent me possibly the best gift ever, a can with my face on it,” Mulvaney said.
Bud Light makes special can to celebrate Dylan Mulvaney's '365 days of girlhood' pic.twitter.com/jG7p8IJPgS
— wyntre (@Wyntre999) April 2, 2023
“Happy March Madness!! Just found out this had to do with sports and not just saying it’s a crazy month! In celebration of this sports thing @budlight is giving you the chance to win $15,000! Share a video with #EasyCarryContest for a chance to win!! Good luck! #budlightpartner,” Mulvaney wrote in the caption of the Instagram video.
The partnership prompted immediate, widespread backlash from conservatives. Many on social media called for a boycott of Bud Light.
Country music star and rapper Kid Rock responded with an Instagram video in which he shoots several boxes of Bud Light.
“F*** Bud Light and f*** Anheuser-Busch,” Rock said at the end of the video.
Country singer Travis Tritt announced he would remove all Anheuser-Busch products from his upcoming tour.
Anheuser-Busch, which owns Bud Light, announced over the last several days that the marketing executives behind the Mulvaney partnership, Alissa Heinerscheid and her boss, Daniel Blake, are now taking leaves of absences.
“Given the circumstances, Alissa has decided to take a leave of absence which we support,” an Anheuser-Busch spokesperson said. “Daniel has also decided to take a leave of absence.”
Both leaves are reportedly involuntary.
Other beer brands are moving into the space left by Bud Light’s sales slump.
Last week, Bud Light lost 6.7% of market share.
Meanwhile, Coors Light and Miller Lite are now up 18%, Insights Express noted.
“Coors Light and Miller Lite were once again big beneficiaries,” the newsletter said.
Anheuser-Busch is set to meet with distributors in Washington, D.C. on Tuesday. The distributors reportedly want to see a “much more pointed and well developed plan on how Anheuser-Busch might stem the onslaught of negative attention and sales trends,” Insights Express said.
Some distributors have reportedly already canceled marketing events.
Bud Light is the top-selling beer in the country, but the brand has struggled for years with declining sales, especially as younger drinkers opt for alternatives like craft beer.
Anheuser-Busch initially said in a statement that it “works with hundreds of influencers across our brands as one of many ways to authentically connect with audiences across various demographics.”
“From time to time we produce unique commemorative cans for fans and for brand influencers, like Dylan Mulvaney,” the company said. “This commemorative can was a gift to celebrate a personal milestone and is not for sale to the general public.”