Bud Light sales continue to fall weeks after Mulvaney promo debacle

Bud Light sales have dwindled since the popular beer's parent company partnered with a transgender influencer on social media last month for an online promotion.

Anheuser-Busch InBev has sold $71.5 million worth of Bud Light in the week ending April 29, a 23% drop compared to a year ago, according to data from Bump Williams Consulting. Budweiser sales have hit $31.5 million so far this year, down roughly 11%, the firm said. Sales of other Anheuser-Busch brands — including Budweiser, Michelob Ultra, Busch Light and Natural Light — have also taken a hit.

The deepening sales slump comes a month after Bud Light partnered with TikTok star Dylan Mulvaney, a San Diego trans rights activist and actress for a promotion on Instagram. Mulvaney posted a video on the platform on April 1 to promote a contest for the beer brand, showing off Bud Lite cans with her face on them commemorating her "365 days of girlhood" series in which she documents her gender transition. The post sparked outrage from conservatives, including from singers Kid Rock and Travis Tritt, igniting calls by some to boycott the brand.

The 26-year-old, who has 10.8 million followers on TikTok and 1.8 million on Instagram, has received hateful comments online, as well as support.

Anheuser-Busch didn't immediately respond to a request for comment Wednesday.

Backlash from both sides

Anheuser-Busch CEO Brendan Whitworth on April 14 released a statement in which he expressed regret over the division caused by the company's collaboration with Mulvaney, though he did not refer to the promotion directly. Soon after the statement, the two Anheuser-Busch InBev executives who supervised the failed marketing collaboration were put on leave.

The company's attempt to distance itself from the campaign caused further backlash from the LGBTQ+ community, with some bars pulling all Anheuser-Busch products from their menu.

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Budweiser is still experiencing backlash from the Mulvaney post from conservatives in part because the public mistakenly believes it has a long-term partnership with the social media influencer, Anheuser-Busch's Global CEO Michel Doukeris said last week during an earnings call.

"We will need to continue to clarify the fact that this was one can, one influencer, one post, and not a campaign, and repeat this message for some time," Doukeris told investors.

Doukeris also said during the call that "it's too early to have a full view on the impact, but I know that we have the people and the partners to learn from that and to continue to move forward and to come out stronger."

The blowback has not impacted some of Anheuser-Busch's other popular brands. Sales of Coors Light and Miller Lite are up 20% while Keystone Light has grown 14%, according to Bump Williams.

AB InBev's stock closed at $66 a share on Wednesday. While that's a 6% drop since the end of March, the stock is up roughly 14% from last year.
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