Brendan Whitworth, the US boss of Anheuser-Busch, said Bud Light’s parent company will cut checks to reeling wholesalers and distributors — but avoided apologizing for the Dylan Mulvaney fiasco.
Whitworth said “the discussion surrounding our company and Bud Light has moved away from beer” as he announced a three-step plan to revive the tarnished brand on Thursday.
The beer baron has yet to directly address the disastrous tie-up with the trans influence — which has led to boycott calls that have knocked Bud Light from its two-decade perch as America’s best-selling beer.
Instead, he offered a financial olive branch from the Belgian-based beer giant that involves “investing to protect the jobs of our frontline employees” and launching a new ad campaign this summer that will tout the beer as “easy to drink, easy to enjoy.”
“We are providing financial assistance to our independent wholesalers to help them support their employees,” Whitworth said in a statement released Thursday.
He also said the company would reimburse distributors for “the freight/fuel surcharge through the end of 2023” as cases of Bud Light languish on store shelves.
The third part of the plan involves launching a more palatable ad campaign that will reinforce “what you’ve always loved about our brand — that it’s easy to drink and easy to enjoy,” Whitworth wrote.
Sales of Bud Light have been consistently moving downhill since early April, when beer drinkers’ outrage over the partnership led to calls for boycotts.
Modelo Especial, the Mexican lager, claimed the crown as America’s bestselling beer in May, according to data compiled by consulting firm Bump Williams.
In the week that ended on June 3, sales of Bud Light were down 24.4% compared to the same week a year ago, according to Bump Williams.
Beer brands in the Anheuser-Busch portfolio have also seen sales lag in recent weeks, including Budweiser and Michelob Ultra, while competitors like Coors Light and Miller Lite — both of which are properties of Molson Coors — have reaped the benefits.
According to research firm Circana, sales of Bud Light fell by 23% year-over-year in May to $297.3 million while rival lager Modelo Especial was catapulted to the top spot, generating $333.1 million — a 15% increase year-over-year.