Sales of Bud Light slumped in May, dropping the beer brand from its longstanding position as the best-selling brew in the country.
Parent company Anheuser-Busch InBev (ABI) sold $297 million worth of Bud Light for the four weeks ended May 28 — down 23% from the same time period a year earlier, according to consumer behavior data analytics firm Circana. Modelo Especial took first place in May, with $333 million in sales—a 15% increase over 2022.
Bud Light sales decline follows promotional debacle withA transgender rights activist and representative, she has caused an uproar among conservatives including singers Kid Rock and Travis Tritt, who have called for a popular beer boycott.
The company’s attempt to distance itself from the campaign has caused a backlash, this timewith some bars pulling all Anheuser-Busch products from their menus.
ABI did not immediately respond to a request for comment Thursday.
A ‘serious course correction’ is needed
Bud Light is certainly still hugely popular and has sold more cases than any competitor to date, but the Mulvaney fiasco threatens to change that, according to Bump Williams Consulting, which tracks the alcohol industry.
“Unless Bud Light starts to experience a serious course correction in terms of performance, which can only come from consumers finding their way back into the brand family, that strong hold on No. 1 by the end of the year is fading a little bit more every week,” Dave said. Williams, vice president of analytics and insights at Bump Williams Consulting, told CBS MoneyWatch.
Modelo Especial is a pilsner-style lager that began nearly 100 years ago in Mexico. Constellation Brands Buyer Modelo from ABI in 2013. Since then, Constellation has prioritized Modelo sales, namely by making sure stores never run out of stock, Williams said.
Constellation also plans to increase sales of the brand by offering “Modelo to new consumers by increasing distribution and retail presence,” company spokeswoman Stephanie McGowan told CBS MoneyWatch Thursday.
Summer sales heat up the competition
Williams said the next two months will be crucial for Bud Light sales as summer ushers in more holidays and beer drinking. He added that breweries are also using the summer to put more on-store supply at grocery stores and gas stations.
“Companies invest so much in being front, center and top of mind during this season that there’s only so much floor space to allocate; consumer money to spend and beer events to meet,” said Williams. “And if a brand misses out on these opportunities, it’s nearly impossible to regain that lost potential over the course of a calendar year.”