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Bud Light to lose shelf space in grocery stores, following 2023 boycott

Conservative backlash over transgender influencer still felt by Anheuser-Busch InBev NV

It might seem like the dust had settled on the boycott of Bud Light for its decision to work with transgender influencer Dylan Mulvaney, but the repercussions are still being felt by Anheuser-Busch InBev NV, according to a story in Bloomberg

It’s been almost a year since Mulvaney posted a video on her Instagram account promoting Bud Light’s $15,000 March Madness giveaway. The company’s connection to the trans celebrity prompted a boycott of the beer by conservatives across the country.

The protest against Bud Light caused the company to distance itself from Mulvaney, and other companies, such as Target, reined in its marketing to LGBTQ customers. 

Bloomberg said the backlash is causing Anheuser-Busch InBev NV to lose as much as 15% of its shelf space at stores as it continues to lose market share to Constellation Brands Inc.’s Modelo, which has taken the top spot for U.S. beer sales by dollar volume.

Jesse Ferber, chief strategy officer at Columbia Distributing, said the final numbers on the reset of shelf space at retailers won’t be final until May or June, but Bud Light is still the top-selling brand by overall volume sold.

As of Feb. 24, Bud Light maintained a volume share of 10% and a dollar share of 8.4%, according to Circana data reported by Bloomberg. That beats Modelo’s volume share of 7.4% but trails its 9.1% dollar share. 

Not far behind are Michelob Ultra with a volume share of 8.6% and a dollar share of 7.7%, followed by Coors Light with a 7.9% volume share and a 6.6% dollar share. 

Blake Leonard, president of Stew Leonard’s Wines & Spirits, which is located in the Northeast, told Bloomberg that Bud Light sales dropped by about 50%, following the Mulvaney incident, and they still haven’t recovered. 

“We let our customers dictate which products get the best placement in our stores,” he said.

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