An anonymous beer distributor admitted to the New York Post on Monday that Bud Light may never recover from the ongoing controversy surrounding the brand.
Since it was revealed that the beer brand had partnered with transgender influencer Dylan Mulvaney in April, Bud Light has suffered a nearly 30% loss in sales compared to the previous year. On Thursday, Anheuser-Busch InBev also announced that it would be laying off hundreds of workers.
As the brand continues to suffer setbacks, a Texas-based distributor argued that many consumers may not come back at all.
“Consumers have made a choice,” the executive told The Post. “They have left [Bud Light] and that’s how it’s going to be. I don’t envision a big percentage of them coming back.”
The executive also noted that by now, consumers have likely found that other brands such as Coors Light and Miller Lite “are a very similar product” and it all comes down to “whoever is best at marketing.”
“There are so many different options for coming-of-age drinkers today,” the executive said.
Other executives showed similar concerns that Bud Light may not recover from the decline, citing the “mistake” in the company’s marketing.
“There is an increasing feeling that this [Bud Light] decline rate could last for a while and the distributors are worried about losing those drinkers to other similar brands,” executive editor of Beer Marketer’s Insights David Steinmann said.
Michael Stone, chairman of Beanstalk Group, a New York-based branding firm, added, “The strategy of targeting younger, newer consumers is the right one. But Anheuser-Busch made a mistake executing on the strategy.”
In the wake of the beer’s decline, Modelo Especial has overtaken Bud Light as the top-selling beer in the country two months in a row. This marked the first time since 2001 that Bud Light did not hold the top spot, a trend that executives suggested would continue through August.
Other beer brand experts and executives have weighed in on the Bud Light controversy with many criticizing the company for alienating its base. Heineken CEO Dolf van den Brink has since warned that brands should strive to be “balanced” regarding their messaging in the future.
“Yes, particularly in the Western world, we do see a lot of polarization in society and that is affecting all players, all actors in society, also businesses and brands,” van den Brink said Monday.
He added, “You have to be thoughtful, you have to be balanced. And at the same time, you need to stand for your values and your principles. And we try to do that to the best of our abilities.”
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