Bud Light is enduring a customer boycott of remarkable proportions, leading to a steady decline in sales following its contentious collaboration with transgender activist Dylan Mulvaney, reveals a recent report.
Harry Schuhmacher, the chief editor of Beer Business Daily, has shed light on this unexpected and long-lasting consumer backlash in a conversation with NBC News.
"It's been an unforeseen endurance test," Schuhmacher admitted, expressing disbelief over the boycott's duration and intensity. "It's baffling and unprecedented; an unpredictable storm in the consumer goods industry. The impact has been utterly startling."
Recent statistics indicate a significant sales slump for Bud Light, with a 28.4% dip recorded in the week ending on May 13, which only exacerbates the previously noted falling sales trend. Schuhmacher attributes a portion of this decline to conservative-led boycotts, though he notes that even apolitical consumers are distancing themselves from the Anheuser-Busch InBev brand.
"The vast majority of people aren't interested in this controversy, and they'd rather steer clear of the debate," he pointed out. "Consequently, they're forgoing the beer." He further described the boycott as an "unlucky draw" where timing, public sentiment, and a divided environment combined to form an unanticipated, massive protest against the brand.
Already struggling to maintain its appeal amidst the surge of hard seltzers and craft beers, Bud Light sought to engage new demographics. Alissa Heinerscheid was appointed to revitalize the brand, but when the Mulvaney partnership backfired, she was promptly put on leave.
Anson Frericks, the former president of sales and distribution for Anheuser-Busch, mirrored Schuhmacher's views, predicting a "long, hot, dry summer" for the beer brand.
"Customers have the convenience of switching to other brands, and they're witnessing the impact of their actions on Bud Light's sales," Frericks told the Daily Wire. "A simple resolution stands before them – to win back Bud Light customers, the brand should commit to staying clear of political issues. If they fail to take this step, they risk worsening their position next year, and their sales might continue on this downward trajectory."