Beverage industry tech company BeerBoard has reported a significant drop in Bud Light sales at bars and restaurants across the U.S. after the beer company's decision to partner with controversial transgender influencer Dylan Mulvaney, leading to internal adjustments within Anheuser-Busch's marketing department.
According to Axios, approximately 3,000 locations that utilize BeerBoard's technology recorded a 6% drop in Bud Light sales between April 2 and April 15.
The partnership between Bud Light and Mulvaney began on April 1 and was met with immediate backlash, as several prominent conservatives announced they were finished with the brand.
In the week following the announcement, Bud Light sales plummeted 11%, and the subsequent week saw sales volume drop by 21%, as reported by NielsenIQ and Bump Williams Consulting data.
Anheuser-Busch, Bud Light's parent company, has faced internal consequences due to the incident, with marketing executives Daniel Blake and Alissa Heinerscheid placed on leave.
Blake, who oversees marketing for Anheuser-Busch's mainstream brands, and Heinerscheid, Bud Light's Vice President of Marketing, were both placed on leave, with an Anheuser-Busch spokeswoman confirming their decisions in an email. Sources familiar with the situation suggest that the decision to take a leave of absence was not voluntary for either executive.
In response to the controversy, Anheuser-Busch is making adjustments within its marketing department to ensure that senior staff are closely involved in decisions regarding brand activities.
“These steps will help us maintain focus on the things we do best: brewing great beer for all consumers, while always making a positive impact in our communities and on our country,” the company said.
As detailed by Rebel News, Heinerscheid, who aimed to change Bud Light's image through the Mulvaney partnership, recently spoke on a podcast about her intention to attract younger drinkers to the brand, which has been in decline for some time.
She explained that she had a clear mandate to evolve and elevate Bud Light by incorporating inclusivity, shifting the tone, and appeal to a younger demographic.
Heinerscheid emphasized the importance of representation in the brand's evolution, stating, "you have got to see people who reflect you in the work." She acknowledged that Bud Light's previous reputation was one of "fratty, kind of out-of-touch humor," and that a new approach was essential.
The move appears to have backfired on the company.