Bud Light distributors in Heartland and South are ‘scared’

By Neirin Gray Desai for Dailymail.Com

00:58 11 April 2023, updated 01:54 11 April 2023

  • Initial data indicates that Bud Light sales were down and wholesalers are worried
  • The Easter weekend disrupted consumer patterns, making it more difficult to spot trends
  • A video went viral in which a man claiming to be a Bud Light retailer complained about low sales

Bud Light sales have plunged and distributors in the Midwest, South and rural areas are “frightened” by backlash after the company partnered with trans TikToker Dylan Mulvaney.

Distributors of Anheuser-Busch products, the company that owns Bud Light, reported declining sales over the weekend, according to a report by trade publication Beer Business Daily.

It comes as a video of a man claiming to be a salesman for an AB affiliate went viral on Twitter as he lamented poor sales and the impact on his livelihood.

“I’ve never seen as little sales as the last few days,” he said. “When people don’t buy this beer I don’t make money and I can’t feed my family,” he said.

The controversy arose when Mulvaney, 26, shared on social media a can sent to her by Bud Light with her face on it. Objections emerged from conservatives, as well as musician Kid Rock, who shot cans of Bud Light in protest.

A video of a man claiming to be a salesman for an AB affiliate went viral on Twitter as he lamented poor sales and the impact on his livelihood

Mulvaney’s Instagram post on April 2 included her drinking a beer with her face pressed against the can and lying in a bathtub, punching Bud back.
Mulvaney’s Instagram beer campaign

Beer Business Daily wrote in its report that it tried to pare back the backlash by looking at things purely from “a marketing and sales perspective” and “ignoring political and social issues.”

“By Thursday afternoon, we had reached out to a handful of AB distributors who were alarmed, particularly in the Heartland and South, and even then in their more rural areas,” it published Monday.

It specified that data was limited and that the Easter weekend had disrupted consumer patterns, making it more difficult to spot trends.

“With the very limited data from a handful of wholesalers, Bud Light appears to have seen a volume boost in some markets over the holiday weekend, particularly in rural areas, which comprise their higher share of markets,” it published.

Anheuser-Busch distributors in the United States are divided between ‘blue silver’ distributors, which stock MillerCoors products, and ‘red’ distributors, which deal in InBev products, the parent company of Budweiser and Bud Light.

“Blue-silver distributors were said to be reaching ‘record sales’, while the publication received anecdotes of a ‘sea of ​​blue and red’ [Budweiser and Bud Light] remains untouched in coolers.’

It clarified that it was not clear to what extent that was a result of Easter or the backlash. The controversy also coincided with the launch of Yeungling in Missouri, which was first announced earlier this year.

“The timing couldn’t be better for the Yuengling launch,” a wholesaler told Beer Business Daily.

Pictured is the Bud Light can with Mulvaney’s face that sparked the controversy
Anheuser-Busch wholesalers across the Midwest and South were said to have been worst hit. On the picture is a map showing the number of wholesale outlets in different regions of the country

It was also mentioned that the marketing strategy could pay off for AB in the long term if sales are increased to those who view the partnership positively.

“Trying to appeal to the sensibilities of a new generation of drinkers without alienating your old core constituency is like herding cats (and dogs and chickens), especially with a big and iconic brand like Bud Light,” the report said.

“AB can hope that Bud Light, with the surprising amount of publicity this has received, will gain attention among Gen Z, who before now we all have to admit wouldn’t touch the brand with a barge pole. And that’s AB’s stated strategy, after all,” added it.

At the moment, the full ramifications of the partnership are not yet clear. “Whether that lasts or whether the publicity sparks incremental offset demand from across the ideological divide in metro areas remains to be seen.”

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