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The Beginning Of The End For Bud Light, Losses Mounting

The Bud Light boycott is still having an economic impact on Anheuser-Busch InBev, the beer brand’s parent company. Since the boycott began in April after Bud Light partnered with transgender activist Dylan Mulvaney, sales of the beer have dropped drastically.

Anheuser-Busch’s North American revenue declined 10.5% year-over-year according to their second-quarter corporate earnings data.

This resulted in a massive $395 million revenue decrease compared to the same time a year ago – a decline that AB InBev attributed “primarily due to the volume decline of Bud Light”.

Despite this drop in North America, AB InBev reported that their global revenue increased by 7.2%. Their global brands such as Modelo in Mexico and Spaten in Brazil saw an increase of more than 10% for the second quarter of 2023, while their other global brands like Corona saw an 18.4% growth outside its home market – with Corona even being recognized as “the #1 fastest growing global beer brand by value” according to Kantar BrandZ reports.

“EBITDA declined by 28.2%, with approximately two-thirds of this decrease attributable to market share performance and the remainder from productivity loss, increased sales and marketing investments and support measures for our wholesaler partners,” Anheuser-Busch InBev said in the second-quarter earnings report.

On an earnings call, Anheuser-Busch InBev CEO Michel Doukeris said consumers expressed three common points: they want to enjoy beer without debate, they want Bud Light to focus on beer, and they want Bud Light to concentrate on platforms all consumers love like NFL, Folds of Honor (a veteran charity), and music events.

However, despite these consumer desires, The Wall Street Journal has reported that retailers are reallocating shelf space away from Bud Light towards competing products during spring shelf resets.

This is something Molson Coors Chief Executive Gavin Hattersley declared on a conference call with analysts when he mentioned that Molson Coors gained 12,000 tap handles across bars and other on-premise channels alone during the same period.

This prompted Coors to plan another $100 million marketing effort going forward “to maintain those gains” they got from it according to Hattersley.

An anonymous distributor also told The New York Post that “consumers have made choice…I don’t envision a big percentage of them coming back”, hinting at permanent damage done by this boycott against one of the United States’ most iconic beers last month when survey results showed it no longer among America’s top 10 beers anymore either way.

As if these losses weren’t enough already Anheuser Busch InBev announced last week it would be laying off 350 employees too which further adds salt into injury for what was once considered one of America’s favorite beverages.

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Joe Messina

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