The controversy over Bud Light’s partnership with transgender influencer Dylan Mulvaney looks like it has staying power — raising the risk that boycotts will further cripple sales of the nation’s biggest beer brand, according to industry experts.
It’s “way too early” to know whether the controversy will ultimately hurt the brewery’s bottom line, said Evercore ISI analyst Robert Ottenstein.
Nevertheless, there is plenty of anecdotal evidence showing its potential to wreak havoc.
Eleven days after Anheuser-Busch delivered custom-made cans with Mulvaney’s mug on them to the influencer, Kid Rock used Bud Light cans for rifle practice.
Squabbles have broken out at bars and distributors are canceling events featuring the iconic Clydesdale horses.
“This boycott seems to have more legs than most,” Justin Kendall, editor of beer industry trade publication Brewbound, told The Post.
“It started out as a conversation on social media and has breached into mainstream media.”
It will be another week before Bud Light sales data at grocery and convenience stores is available but industry experts say its sales have been declining for years.
Sales of Bud Light — whose share of the US beer market is the nation’s biggest at 10.6% — were down 0.4% to $974 million this year through March 26 compared to a year earlier, according to Circana, which tracks millions of consumer products across 500,000 stores in 20 countries.
By contrast, sales of Bud Light’s closest competitor, Modelo Especial, were up 11.1% to $706 million over the same period.
“Bud Light is the best-selling beer in the country,” Kendall said, but it remains to be seen whether the drinkers who say they are never going to have another Bud actually follow through on the threat, he added.