September 22, 2023

Bud Light sales continue to fall in another ‘very weak’ week

Shares of Bud Light parent company Anheuser-Busch InBev (BUD) are down more than 17% since the company reported earnings on May 4, as the Dylan Mulvaney controversy continues to weigh on the beer giant’s sales.

However, the company saw some slight improvement. In the week ending May 27, Anheuser-Busch InBev said Bud Light sales were down 23.9% from a year ago — a smaller drop than the previous week, down 25.7%. Volumes were also slightly better, down 27.8% for the week of May 27, compared to a decline of 29.5% for the week of May 20. That’s according to data from Bump Williams Consulting, quoted in an Evercore ISI note to clients.

“Another week of very weak trends for Bud Light indicates that the channels being tracked may be reaching a point of stabilization, albeit at significantly lower levels for Anheuser-Busch InBev than before the controversy,” said Evercore.

This is now month two of the boycott after Mulvaney, a transgender influencer and TikTok personality, posted an Instagram post during March Madness basketball endorsing the beer. Following the post, the company saw sales plummet in April and May following an April 3 video of country singer Kid Rock, which apparently sparked a widespread boycott among certain U.S. consumers.

The other Anheuser-Busch InBev brands in the portfolio are also seeing an uptick, but “remain well below pre-controversy levels as boycotts on ABI’s larger portfolio continue to impact brands outside of Bud Light.”

Budweiser sales fell 8.5% year-over-year for the week of May 27, but better than the previous week of May 20, which saw the largest decline, which fell 11.2%. Michelob Ultra sales fell 0.1% in the last week of May, compared to a 3.8% drop the previous week. Busch Light sales fell 3.0% in the last week of May, compared to a 5.2% decline the previous week. Natural light also saw improvement, with sales down 1.5% in the week of May 27, compared to a decline of 4.9% in the week of May 20.

Volumes also improved for all brands in the portfolio. Michelob Ultra volumes showed the greatest improvement, down 3.6% compared to a 7.5% decline in the week leading up to the start of the summer season.

Evercore’s Robert Ottenstein said: “In particular, industry volumes improved to -2.4% versus -4.0% last week, indicating that ABI’s acceleration was likely not due to a reduction in boycott-driven pressure.”

Following the earnings call with investors, where Anheuser-Busch InBev CEO Michel Dimitrios Doukeris downplayed the controversy, the company faced boycotts from others, including from the LGBTIQA+ community such as Chicago’s 2Bears Tavern Uptown.

For example, in an Instagram post, the bar said, “Anheuser-Busch’s decision to end its support of Mulvaney in response to ignorant and hateful objections from some of its customers shows just how little Anheuser-Busch cares about LGBTIQA+ community…”

Ottenstein said if this weakness continues, it “raises the question of whether Anheuser-Busch InBev and/or its distributors will need to make structural changes to lower their cost base if trends do not improve in the coming months.”

According to a message from Jefferies to customers, approximately 65% ​​of distributors expect the Bud Light controversy to last longer than 6 months, including a third of respondents who expect a lasting impact.

Molson Coors profits, Bank of America raises shares from Underperform to Neutral

Meanwhile, competitor Molson Coors continues to gain market share. All brands named in Evercore ISI’s report (Coors Light, Miller Lite, Keystone Light and Miller High Life) saw their best sales week in the last week of May since the controversy began the week of April 8. Coors Light led the sales growth with a sales increase of 26.3% compared to a year earlier.

Bank of America upgraded Molson Coors shares from Underperform to Neutral on Tuesday. Among other things, the company said, “Our rating change is based on our belief that the recent increase in U.S. market share associated with the Bud Light boycott has lasted long enough to have a positive impact on sales and earnings.”

Shares of Molson Coors (TAP) are up more than 5% since it announced its latest earnings results on May 2.

Brooke DiPalma is a reporter for Yahoo Finance. Follow her on Twitter at @BrookeDiPalma or email her at

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