During the four weeks leading up to June 3rd, Bud Light experienced a decline in sales by nearly a quarter, according to the consulting agency Bump Williams.
The slump in sales followed after a number of U.S. beer consumers boycotted Bud Light in response to transgender influencer Dylan Mulvaney's display of a customised Bud Light can. This shift in consumer behaviour allowed Modelo Especial to ascend to the number one spot, claiming 8.4% of U.S. beer sales by value during this period.
Bud Light had maintained its status as America's favourite beer for the initial five months of the year, as per Bump Williams' analysis of Nielsen's data. However, these statistics suggest Bud Light's sales took a nosedive after April when Mulvaney posted a picture on Instagram of the customised Bud Light can gifted by the beer manufacturer.
The promotion drew criticism from various conservative public figures, including Kid Rock, Trae Waynes, and Bri Teresi, who posted videos of themselves shooting Bud Light cans. This backlash led to a drop in Anheuser-Busch InBev's share price and resulted in two executives being put on leave.
In response to the controversy, Brendan Whitworth, Chief Executive of AB InBev's North American operations, said in an April 14 statement: "Our aim was never to be embroiled in a debate that causes division. Our business thrives on uniting people over a beer."
In an attempt to rectify the situation, Bud Light launched new commercials featuring American symbols like the U.S. flag and horses roaming across vast landscapes.
Anheuser-Busch InBev's CEO, Michel Doukeris, clarified during a May 4 investor call: "We need to emphasise that this was a single can, one influencer, one post and not a campaign."
He added that the company is increasing its investment behind the Bud Light brand in the U.S. and is providing financial assistance to its frontline teams and wholesalers.