Bud Light see sales plummet in North America after boycott by outraged right-wingers

The world’s biggest brewery could lose a staggering $1.4 billion (£1.1 billion) in sales following the backlash against its partnership with trans influencer Dylan Mulvaney.

While Anheuser-Busch InBev boasted record revenues in 2023, in North America, organic revenue plunged as beer sales by volume fell considerably – primarily due to a decline in Bud Light sale in the US – after customers mounted a boycott in the wake of the brief partnership with Mulvaney.

Although the company is (very) slowly recovering its market share, CNN reported equity analyst Aarin Chiekrie saying: “In the US, performance remains very underwhelming with revenue down at double-digit rates as the group lost market share.”

Last April, Mulvaney was sent a single can of Bud Light with her face on it to help celebrate the first anniversary of her “Days of girlhood” TikTok series.

Almost immediately both Bud Light and Mulvaney were in the crosshairs of ultra-conservatives, and the rest of the “anti-woke” mob. Kid Rock made a video of himself firing a rifle at cans of the beer, while wearing a Donald Trump supporter’s MAGA (Make America Great Again) hat.

Meanwhile, Texas senator Ted Cruz “demanded” an investigation into the one-off ad campaign, and some bars and stores refused to sell the beer due to “religious beliefs”.

One entrepreneurial ultra-conservative dad even launched his own “100 per cent woke-free beer” but failed to find a brewery to produce it. Currently, it’s only available online and ships to just a handful of states.

Conservative Dad’s Ultra Right Beer was created by Seth Weathers during the Dylan Mulvaney/Bud Light backlash. (Twitter/Conservative Dad’s Ultra Right Beer)

As Bud Light’s support of Mulvaney wavered, some celebrities, including basketball legend Charles Barkley, country singer Garth Brooks and podcaster Joe Rogan, gave her their backing. 

However, the company’s lukewarm response to the backlash and seeming lack of support for Mulvaney angered the LGBTQ+ and other “snowflake” communities who, in turn boycotted Bud Light too.

Before the initial dust had settled and all the broken bottles could be cleaned up, sales plummeted in the US, and Mexican lager Modelo Especial usurped Bud Light’s throne of best-selling beer in America, ending a reign of more than two decades.

The damage to Bud Light and its parent company wasn’t just financial. Anheuser-Busch also lost its Perfect 100 rating from the Human Rights Campaign annual corporate equality index.

Nike’s partnership with Mulvaney

Sports brand Nike also partnered with Mulvaney last year, with the influencer posting a series of pics of herself on Instagram wearing leggings and a sports bra.

Despite outcries from “gender-critical” individuals, and the occasional bra-burning video, Nike stood by her. The company posted on Instagram in the aftermath saying: “Hate speech, bullying or other behaviours that are not in the spirit of a diverse and inclusive community will be deleted.”

Customers threatened to boycott Nike because Dylan Mulvaney wore some of the brand’s leggings. (Dylan Mulvaney/Instagram/Getty)

The brand’s worldwide revenue for the 12 months to November is estimated at more than $51 billion (£40 billion), an increase of $4.5 billion (£3.5 billion) on the previous year.

While Bud Light fumbled the opportunity to fully support the LGBTQ+ community, maybe Nike’s unwavering backing of Mulvaney demonstrated that championing diversity can be not only the right thing to do but also a profitable business strategy.

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