Modelo Especial tops US beer sales as Bud Light faces boycott

Constellation Brands’ Modelo Especial has surpassed Bud Light as the leading beer in the US market amidst a conservative backlash against Anheuser-Busch InBev’s Bud Light for partnering with transgender influencer, Dylan Mulvaney. Sales of Bud Light and Budweiser fell considerably by 24.6% and 9.2%, respectively, in the four weeks through June 3, compared to a year ago. In contrast, Modelo Especial sales rose by 10.2% during the same period, according to data from NielsenIQ and consulting firm Bump Williams.

The dispute began in early April when TikTok sensation Mulvaney teamed up with Bud Light for the ‘Easy Carry Contest’, which encouraged customers to win US$15,000 by sharing videos of themselves carrying as many beer cans as possible. This sparked widespread criticism from conservatives who demanded a Bud Light boycott. Among the critics were singer Kid Rock and Congresswoman Marjorie Taylor Greene.

This conservative uproar has also impacted retailer Target, who removed some LGBTQ-themed items following altercations between customers and staff, as well as instances of Pride merchandise being discarded on the floor.

AB InBev’s shares, which were performing well relative to Molson Coors and Constellation Brands during the first quarter, started to decline after the Bud Light controversy flared up in April. Modelo Especial now holds the top spot as the bestselling beer brand in the United States, boasting an 8.4% share of overall beer sales through retail outlets for the period ending June 3, as indicated by Bump Williams’ data. Bud Light followed with a 7.3% share.

AB InBev’s overall sales growth fell 12% in the four weeks that ended on May 20, according to NielsenIQ and TD Cowen. TD Cowen analyst Vivien Azer noted this drop would “fully capture the boycott” in comparison to the 3.6% decrease in sales growth observed by AB InBev in the four weeks that concluded on April 22.

The decline in sales of established “light” beer brands has been ongoing for the past six years, preceding the backlash against Bud Light, as more customers gravitated towards craft beers and then hard seltzers, according to Euromonitor International.

World News

Jane Nelson

Jane is a seasoned financial journalist with over a decade of experience covering global markets, economic trends, and investment strategies. She holds a degree in economics and has worked for several leading financial publications before joining The Thaiger.

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