Bud Light sales are still stale


Bud Light’s sales are still looking mighty flat as the seemingly never-ending controversy surrounding the beer brand continues.

Anheuser-Busch InBev’s (BUD) Bud Light sales tanked 26.5% for the week ending August 5, per new Nielsen data. That’s a faster pace than the week-on-week drop of 25.9% for the period ending June 17.

Bud Light volumes crashed 29.7%, accelerating from the week earlier’s plunge of 29.3%.

“Recent data continues to show that tracked channels reached a point of stabilization at significantly lower levels for Anheuser-Busch InBev than pre-controversy,” Evercore ISI analyst Robert Ottenstein wrote in a note.

The declines started after transgender influencer Dylan Mulvaney created an Instagram post during the March Madness basketball tournament endorsing the light beer.

Following the post on April 1, ABInBev saw Bud Light sales trend lower through April. The declines appeared to accelerate following an April 3 video from country musician Kid Rock, which spurred a wider boycott by many on the right.

To try and stem the sales weakness, Budweiser offered US consumers in most states a rebate of up to $15 on a 15-pack or larger for July 4. The company has also reportedly been discounting Bud Light at retailers since the July 4 promotion.

Empty Bud Light cans sit in the seats at a baseball game.

Empty Bud Light cans sit in the seats during the Baltimore Orioles and Cleveland Guardians game on May 31, 2023, in Baltimore, Maryland. (Photo by Rob Carr/.)

By all indications, the gambit hasn’t paid off.

The sales pressure has stretched well into the peak summer drinking months as the uproar has continued to play out on social media and in national headlines.

And there are two things making matters worse for Anheuser-Busch InBev.

First, rival Heineken is actively courting disenchanted Bud Light consumers.

A Heineken spokesperson confirmed to Yahoo Finance that it will spend $100 million to market a new light beer called Heineken Silver to consumers. The company plans to give away two million free samples this year as part of that initiative.

And secondly, the controversy continues to weigh on the rest of the beer giant’s portfolio.

For the week ending August 5, Michelob Ultra volumes fell by 2.9% and Busch Light declined by 7.3%. Both were accelerated declines from the prior week. Budweiser volumes fell 14.7% in the latest measurement week.

Shares of Anheuser-Busch InBev have fallen 4% in the past six months as the sales declines persist. The S&P 500 has advanced 8%.

“We assume no recovery in Bud Light [this year],” RBC Capital Markets analyst James Jones said in a note.

Brian Sozzi is Yahoo Finance’s Executive Editor. Follow Sozzi on Twitter @BrianSozzi and on LinkedIn. Tips on deals, mergers, activist situations, or anything else? Email [email protected].

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