Bud Light sales dropped for a third week in April following backlash over a partnership between the beer brand and a transgender influencer, according to industry monitors.
Figures from trade newsletter Beer Business Daily, cited by Barron’s, show sales of the beer outside of hospitality premises fell 26 percent in the week ending April 22, compared with the same time a year ago.
This follows reports last week that Bud Light had seen a 17 percent decline in sales revenue since the controversy began, with beer sales volume contracting 11 percent in the week ending April 8 and 21 percent in the week ending April 15.
Those who have called for a boycott of the brand have celebrated the news as a further sign that their action was having an impact on the company, which has faced accusations of alienating its traditional customer base. The row has crystalized a broader debate about the acceptance of transgender individuals in public life.
On April 2, Mulvaney posted a video to her 1.7 million Instagram followers in which she explained that Bud Light had sent her a personalized can with her face on to commemorate 365 days of being a woman. Mulvaney promoted the beer on her social media channels in other videos.
Following the boycott calls, supporters of Kari Lake, the Donald Trump-backed GOP candidate for Arizona Governor in 2022, refused to drink the beer at an open bar at a rally in Iowa. Elsewhere, a bar owner in Kentucky said he had noticed the drink sparking rows between patrons. Other licensed venues have withdrawn the beer from sale.
Bud Light and its parent company, Anheuser-Busch, have made few public interventions since the controversy began, and two top marketing executives have taken a leave of absence. In an April 14 statement, Brendan Whitworth, the brewery’s CEO, said: “We never intended to be part of a discussion that divides people.”
While marketing strategists have said there is little the company can do to weather the backlash at present, industry figures suggest that the decline in sales of Bud Light in recent weeks had been absorbed by its competitors: as the beer brand’s dollar revenue dropped 17 percent, sales in Coors Light and Miller Lite rose by a similar amount, Beer Marketer’s Insights reported.