[Fox News] Bud Light layoffs are a push to ‘clean up corporate mess’ and move away from progressive politics, experts say

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Brewing company Anheuser-Busch announced it will lay off hundreds of employees across its U.S. corporate staff and experts say the news further indicates that Americans are fed up with companies like Bud Light involving themselves in politics.

“I think the pendulum has finally swung to the end,” Oxygen Financial CEO Ted Jenkin told Fox News Digital. 

“[Consumers are] starting to say, look, we love the products and services many companies sell us. We just don’t want any agenda to force down our throats and we definitely don’t want anything political forced down our throats. And if you do, we’re going to exercise our free speech to vote with our feet—and that means not buy your product,” he added. 

The company layoffs will impact less than 2% of the U.S. workforce, meaning approximately 380 U.S.-based employees are set to lose their jobs.

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“Today we took the very difficult but necessary decision to eliminate a number of positions across our corporate organization,” Anheuser-Busch CEO Brendan Whitworth said in a statement on Wednesday.

“While we never take these decisions lightly, we want to ensure that our organization continues to be set for future long-term success,” he added.

An Anheuser-Busch spokesperson later revealed that the layoffs would “simplify and reduce layers with its organization” and will not impact “brewery and warehouse staff, drivers and field sales, among others.”

Jenkins said the corporate speak of “simplify and reduce layers” can be translated to “clean up the corporate mess,” make the shareholders happy and increase the stock price. 

“The stock is down 12% over the last three months, and it’s down $16 billion in market cap and the corporation needs to clean it up so they can try to fix the stock price for their shareholders,” he said. “What’s the easiest way to do that? Make the heads roll of the people who created the problem.”

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According to a letter sent to employees, laid-off staff will receive severance pay, six months of continued company-paid health insurance benefits and resources to help find a new job.

The controversy embroiling Anheuser-Busch over Bud Light’s short-lived partnership with transgender activist Dylan Mulvaney has sent shockwaves through the company and the beer-making industry. 

The Ardagh Group, a global glass producer who contracts with the Anheuser-Busch company, recently announced that it will be closing its plants in North Carolina and Louisiana in July, putting roughly 645 employees out of a job.

The bottling company did not reveal the reason for the move, but an investigation by WRAL reportedly found that the plants are shuttering because of tanking Bud Light sales.

Data from Evercore ISI shows that in the 12-week period leading up to July 2, Bud Light’s sales volume fell by 27.1% over that timeframe — which includes much of the aftermath following Mulvaney’s partnership with the beer brand. 

Will Hild, the executive director of Consumers’ Research, noted that customers are now seeing firsthand how much power they have to control the market and “make their voices heard.”

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“These massive companies who are forcing a progressive agenda on the American people need to realize that while asset management firms like BlackRock, who own significant shares of their business, may want them to go far left, consumers are sick of the politics,” Hild said. 

“Bud Light is a cautionary tale for any company putting politics ahead of consumers – there are consequences and you’re nothing without your customers,” he added.

Jenkin said Chick-fil-A is an excellent example of a company that holds onto its own values and ideologies without attempting to push them onto the consumer. 

“They’re always closed on Sunday everywhere in the United States. But they never tell somebody to go to church. Right? They just make great chicken,” he said. “And when a company starts telling you about how you should think and how you feel and how you should act, people are going to say, ‘I just won’t buy your product’ and that’s what’s happening here across America.”

The Bud Light family of products, which includes beer and seltzer that shares its name, was down 28.5% in terms of collective sales volume over that period. Meanwhile, Budweiser’s sales volume dipped by 13.5% and Busch Light’s declined by 9.8% over the same period.

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The fallout from the Bud Light controversy has spilled over into other Anheuser-Busch InBev beers, which have also suffered from sales declines.

In May, Bud Light informed wholesalers it would buy back unsold beer once it expires to curb losses. 

That same month, Bud Light was dethroned as America’s top-selling beer by Modelo Especial. 

According to a new YouGov survey, Bud Light has also dropped from the ninth-most popular beer last year to its current spot at 14.

Bud Light recently announced it is setting out to have the brand’s “biggest summer campaign ever” with the “Easy to Drink, Easy to Enjoy campaign.” The campaign will feature commercials centering around the everyday trials and tribulations of summer and a summer music tour with hopes of reshaping the company’s image.

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Jenkin said the company’s new campaign and advertisements indicate Bud Light will slowly move back to focusing on the traditional American center, blue-collar and middle-class Americans. 

“You’re going to see them turn the page and say, let’s go back to what worked. And eventually, you know, down the road, consumers will heal, and they’ll start buying our product again,” he added. 

Anheuser-Busch did not return a request for comment.

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