Bud Light Brand Continues to Suffer Amid Controversy & Boycotts

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Bud Light continues to be suffering a sustained decline in sales two months since the beer brand sparked backlash and calls for a boycott after sending a commemorative can to influencer Dylan Mulvaney.

In the week ending June 3, Bud Light's sales revenue—the brand's dollar income—was down 24.4 percent compared to the same week a year ago, industry data by Nielsen IQ —a further decline compared to the week prior but a marginal improvement on the 25.7 percent nadir in the week ending May 20.

Since the calls for boycott began at the start of April, both Bud Light's sales revenue and volume—the number of units of beer sold—saw steep declines in the first five weeks, before stabilizing at a relatively sustained level of decline compared to the same period in 2022.

While Bud Light remained America's best-selling beer in the year-to-date in both revenue and volume, in the past four weeks it had been dethroned in terms of sales revenue by Mexican rival Modelo Especial. Anheuser-Busch, Bud Light's parent company, was accused of alienating its traditional customer base with the partnership, while some in the LGBTQ+ community have also slammed the company for not defending its ties with Mulvaney.

In the week ending May 27, Bud Light sales revenue declined 23.9 percent compared to the same week a year prior, while sales volume was 27.8 percent lower, Bump Williams Consulting figures show. In the week ending June 3, volumes were down 28.2 percent.

On June 3, one sales supervisor at a Bud Light distributor in Florida suggested to ABC News that the beer brand's decline in sales in the week leading up to Memorial Day (May 29) were as much as 60 percent, at a time when beer sales usually soar.

From week to week, it appears the declines in sales revenue and volume reached their worst in the week ending May 20, before improving slightly at the end of the month and then dipping once again. In the four weeks to May 20, Bud Light sales revenue was 24.3 percent lower than the same time last year. In the four weeks to June 3, that rolling four-week average worsened slightly to 24.6 percent.

Yet, in a sign that the worst for Anheuser-Busch may be over, its other beer brands—the sales of which had also been impacted by the backlash against Bud Light, albeit to a lesser extent—have seen improvements recently.

Budweiser saw an 8.5 percent year-on-year revenue decline in the week ending May 27, but in the week ending June 3, this was now a 7.8 percent drop. Similarly, Busch Light had gone from 3 to 0.8 percent and Natural Light, 1.5 to 1 percent. Sales revenue for Stella Artois, another of the brewery's brands, had maintained a flat 3 percent decline across the two weeks in the U.S. market compared to a year ago.