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Bud Light in Full Retreat

Posted on Monday, May 8, 2023
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by Shane Harris
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199 Comments
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AMAC Exclusive – By Shane Harris

Bud Light

In the clearest sign yet of just how hard the Bud Light boycott is hitting the beer giant, Anheuser-Busch global CEO Michel Doukeris unequivocally disowned the brand’s partnership with controversial TikTok influencer Dylan Mulvaney in a letter to retailers last week. In an era where woke ideology dominates the corporate world, the letter – along with tumbling sales figures – is a striking example of conservative-led backlash forcing a multi-billion-dollar company to retreat from left-wing social politics.

“Anheuser-Busch did not intend to create a controversy or make a political statement,” a clearly exasperated Doukeris wrote. “In reality, the Bud Light can posted by a social media influencer that sparked all the conversation was provided by an outside agency without Anheuser-Busch management awareness or approval.”

Bud Light first ignited uproar in early April when Mulvaney, a man who identifies as a woman and boasts millions of social media followers, posted a video advertising the beer that featured custom cans with his face on it.

Mulvaney’s post was also tagged with “#budlightpartner” – casting immediate skepticism on Doukeris’s claim that Anheuser-Busch leadership was not aware of the partnership. A spokesperson for the company also explicitly stated just two days after Mulvaney posted the video that the company produced the can for him, saying, “Anheuser-Busch works with hundreds of influencers across our brands… This commemorative can was a gift to celebrate a personal milestone and is not for sale to the general public.”

Regardless, if the dramatic drop in Bud Light sales is any indication, Doukeris’s explanation may be too little too late for the brand that has for years been the best-selling beer in America.

Beer Business Daily reported last week that Bud Light’s sales in supermarkets, gas stations, and convenience stores were down 26 percent for the week ended April 22 vs. the same week a year earlier. That decline followed a 17 percent decline for the week ended April 15 vs. a year ago.

Sales at bars and restaurants were equally dismal. After bartenders poured 15 percent more Bud Light than any other brand from March 18 to April 1 – the two weeks before the controversy began – they poured 6 percent less Bud Light than other brands from April 2 to April 15, according to BeerBoard, a company that tracks beer flows. Beer-focused newsletter Insights Express called that decrease “staggering.”

Viral videos showing beer aisles at grocery stores fully stocked with Bud Light but empty of other brands are further evidence of the backlash. One social media user posted a video late last week that appeared to show no one in line at Bud Light stands at Fenway Park in Boston, even as other concession stands had long lines. Stew Leonard’s, a regional grocery chain with eight stores in New York, Connecticut, and New Jersey, has reported a 50 percent decline in Bud Light sales.

Meanwhile, sales of competitor brands have soared. Coors Light and Miller Lite sales were up 18 percent for the third week of April.

Those dismal numbers have led to some major shakeups at Bud Light. The company announced on April 23 that Alissa Heinerscheid, Bud Light’s vice president of marketing, and her boss Daniel Blake, who oversaw marketing for Anheuser-Busch’s mainstream brands, were both taking leaves of absence. Insiders at the company reported that their decisions to leave were not voluntary.

Heinerscheid in particular became a toxic figure for Bud Light after an interview clip of the executive from March surfaced showing her openly disparaging Bud Light drinkers. “Bud Light had been kind of a brand of fratty, kind of out of touch humor,” she said. “It was really important that we had another approach.”

In an apparent attempt to win back its disaffected drinkers, the brand launched a new ad during the NFL draft that featured a heavy country-blue-collar theme, with individuals in western wear drinking Bud Light outside in the rain at a rodeo, all set to the song “Country Fried” by the Zac Brown Band. But social media users were quick to blast the spot as a transparent and cynical attempt to pander to the audience Bud Light had alienated, leading the company to turn off comments on its posts sharing the video.

It appears, however, that the ad will hardly be the last effort by Bud Light to make amends with consumers. Last week, the company also announced it will triple its ad spending for the summer, in addition to giving away free beer to its distributors – another sign that the boycott has had its intended effect.

A full account of just how much Bud Light’s business has tanked will not be available until the company releases its earnings report for the second quarter, likely sometime in early July. Yet no matter what the numbers are, conservatives have proven that the battle for the culture is not yet lost, and corporate wokeism is far from invincible.

Shane Harris is a writer and political consultant from Southwest Ohio.

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Dale T
Dale T
1 year ago

They are not stupid, they should have known that going WOKE with their campaign that the customer base they had would be pissed. If they didn’t then they shouldn’t be CEO’s of a billion dollar company.

Tom
Tom
1 year ago

Yeah! How bout we keep it up? Be a good example for the rest of corporate America. Go woke go broke.

CoNMTX
CoNMTX
1 year ago

I am 81 yrs. old and have never been a heavy consumer of liquor or beer. However, since I tasted my first beer brewed by Anheuser-Busch I have never liked the taste of any of their beers so I’ve never purchased any. So it’s difficult to boycott what you never liked in the first place. However, after the disgusting and deviant Mulvaney flap, there is no way I would ever attempt to drink anything made by A-B in the future.

Leslie
Leslie
1 year ago

Oops. What we need to do now is to keep up the pressure with all the other “woke” companies bowing to the PC police. Inclusion is one thing, but cramming social ideals for less than 5% of our population is something completely different.

Kaiju
Kaiju
1 year ago

A clearly exasperated Doukeris wrote: “In reality, the Bud Light can posted by a social media influencer that sparked all the conversation was provided by an outside agency without Anheuser-Busch management awareness or approval.” As I read this, I envisioned Doukeris as Jon Lovitz’s 80’s Saturday Night Live skit “The Liar”. Grab your popcorn, Folks. The Corporate “Dance” is about to begin.

2004done
2004done
1 year ago

Well I’m so glad to know that the can, the commercials, the production, the promotions, and the retreat WERE ALL GIFTS  to celebrate personal milestones and are not for sale to the general public. I am personally participating with the “Not for Sale to the general public part, and I care so much, I won’t even drink their over-priced-at-free beer. F.You Anheuser

Stephen Russell
Stephen Russell
1 year ago

Alternatives to Bud:
UFO Beers
Craft IPAs
Jeffersons Ocean aged Bourbon
Redneck Riveria whiskies

Mike
Mike
1 year ago

Biting the hand that feeds you is never a good idea. Having people in executive positions that makes these woke decisions without regard to their loyal customer base is inexcusable. By alienating their customers, they deserve what they are getting.

FedUp
FedUp
1 year ago

Classic left wing response “[the can] provided by an outside agency without Anheuser-Busch management awareness or approval”. It’s NEVER their fault. Always blame someone or something else.

Nobody’s Business
Nobody’s Business
1 year ago

Good bye Budweiser, forever. Every company needs to fear for their survival when they pull this woke BS I don’t care how long they have been around. This woke baloney does not make our country better or our people better, it destroys us from within. We need to put a stop to it now. So goodbye Budweiser, and goodbye Fox News, and let’s say good bye to the Democrats who have done nothing except to try and destroy this country for the last 50 years.

Leslie Jones
Leslie Jones
1 year ago

Bud Lite was mostly colored water anyway, hardly beer at all. The buy was an auto reflex for most people until theit sudden awareness that this wasn’t really their brand.
It’s the toughest imaginable marketing task to bring back a damaged brand and to rekindle the auto buy without retriggering the negative every time. They have likely permanently lost 10% market share or more.
If I was a director I’d be asking why the decision to reposition the product was not monitored by senior management. Reputation is the most important commodity they manage.

R W
R W
1 year ago

Everyone should boycott Budlight and other Anheuser-Busch products.

Donald Warner
Donald Warner
1 year ago

I have worked at an AB brewery for over 15 years. I’m disgusted by that ad campaign. I know many Bud drinkers are upset. Remember that company puts food on the tables of thousands of hard working Americans. Please don’t punish all of us.

Mike B.
Mike B.
1 year ago

In my view, there are 2 tell tale signs that Anheuser-Busch is disingenuous in their quest to dig out of the hole they’ve dug themselves into is they didn’t know about the cans printings and the fact that the marketing execs were put on a “leave of absence”.
If an outside party prints your trademark, you’d better know about it.
Why the leave verses firing. You’re going to see other campaigns from these folks. Just wait.

BEA
BEA
1 year ago

If companies want a women representative just hire a women; but don’t ask Justice Ketanji Brownn Jackson what is a women. lol
Guess the laugh is on us!!

Paul
Paul
1 year ago

First rule when you find yourself in a hole of trouble, is to stop digging. The brand is ruined it is a thing not a person so redemption is impossible, as Coke found out. Abandon it and try to do it better next time!

PNW Observer
PNW Observer
1 year ago

CEO Michael Doukeris’ appeal not only was “too little, too late” it is too weak kneed and “woke”. He and the 2 executives (now on leave of absence) should be unemployed. For this decision rests on their desks, and they are ultimately responsible: not just for this one decision, but for introducing “woke” culture into AB. Time to stop pointing fingers at others!
Even now, the alphabet-community supporting Dylan, is turning against AB, because of their weak kneed defense of this horrendous marketing decision. They are (rightfully) losing on both accounts. Wokeness has no foundation, nor supporting structure in American society, it is adrift within a moral hurricane.

Ann S
Ann S
1 year ago

Keep it up awake Americans. Don’t let the bastards win.
Power to the people.

tika
tika
1 year ago

at one time a Dutch beer in green bottles was called both “skunk beer” and “queer beer”..well move over, cuz this one’s for yu’all, now.

Morbious
Morbious
1 year ago

This is nice so might as well enjoy it but it changes nothing of significance. The loony left still rules from the seats of govt to corporate boardrooms. Theyre cancer and all we ever do is sprinkle a little holy water on them.

Debbie Spangler
Debbie Spangler
1 year ago

Don’t drink beer, but it is about time America stood up for it’s belief’s. I believe that company is done for. The American’s that do drink beer have strong values and belief’s and they are done with this nonsense.

ROBERT
ROBERT
1 year ago

Nothing goes to press without being approved all the way up the line. I don’t believe him at all and will still boycott Bud

Carl
Carl
1 year ago

The only way to stop this madness is to bankrupt Anheuser-Busch. These companies are doing the bidding of the left and the Democratic Party to bring socialism as our form of government. Abolish socialism and the Democratic Party at the ballot box VOTE RED and boycott all Anheuser-Busch products.

Dave Hamilton
Dave Hamilton
1 year ago

One word “unbelievable”! Unbelievable that Bud would be so stupid as to alienate its mainstay drinkers for such a small percentage of the population. Unbelievable that Joe Average, the people that drink Bud Light, love America, sports and the American way of life, were cast aside for a Woke agenda. Now, with its sales tanking and its tail between its legs, Bud expects American Beer drinkers to come back to Bud Light and forgive them for their stupidity. Not so fast Bud Light! Contrary to what your CEO says, you knew exactly what you were doing. You were willing to go with the Woke crowd and ignore us. You were willing to help erode OUR way of life and belief in God and Country, You were willing to help destroy Normal family values of Joe Average American for what you thought would be higher profits at OUR expense. No Bud Light, we will not bend the knee, we will not change OUR way of life and we will not be back to drink your Wokeness!

mikem
mikem
1 year ago

a milestone of what? seems just like another day in the life of a mentally ill person. AB sure misjudged their customers and that’s what you get when you hire wokester’s.

EMG
EMG
1 year ago

A leave of absence? Your advertising garu alienated your major buyer group, had a beer can made of her design, without senior management approval, distributed it far enough that it made major headlines and cratered your sales and all she gets is a leave of absence? It’s a different world than the one I worked in!

matt
matt
1 year ago

Bud leadership can backtrack and lie as much as they want but I will stay clear of all their products from now on. I will do the same for all the other woke companies as well !

Russ
Russ
1 year ago

Doukeris, Whitworth and Heinersheid still just don’t understand what they have done. This is the most incompetent corporate leadership ever. I think the time has passed for them to denounce what they did and straight out apologize to their customers. It is too late now, their incompetence and decision making has been atrocious. I won’t ever drink another Bud Lite.

Rick
Rick
1 year ago

Woke is a bad joke and it sure was for Anheuser-Busch. I don’t drink their products, but have had some real fun twisting my buddies who do about supporting ‘THE TWINKIE”
they hired for the woke commercial.

Melinda
Melinda
1 year ago

Just market brands to people, not pander to specific groups. Woke, my a$$.

SusanP
SusanP
1 year ago

Anheuser-Busch symbolically committed suicide when they FAILED to immediately FIRE Alissa Heinerscheid and her boss Daniel Blake over the ad featuring the controversial TikTok influencer Dylan Mulvaney. A “leave of absence” reads to Bud Light’s fan base as protection and a cover-up for the guilty parties. I will not be surprised if all InBev products are shunned in the USA.

DenvilleSr
DenvilleSr
1 year ago

Corporations have a right to freedom of speech. Corporations also have a responsibility to their stockholders. I find it puzzling that corporations like Disney and Anheuser Busch would take controversial public positions guaranteed to alienate existing customers. Disney made claims to feeling a need to take positions that their employees embraced. So they criticized a bill passed by the Florida legislature and signed into law by Florida’s governor. That law did not impact their tax status or make selling their product more difficult. So why go there? Anheuser Busch took the even more unusual step of talking about trying to change the image of their product. When you have the largest selling brand, how bad can the image be and why try to connect it to a fringe segment of the population?

Terry Serbus
Terry Serbus
1 year ago

Amazing how less than1% of the population in USA gets so much voice, Bud deserves what they get, ZERO BUD!!!

Gabe Hanzeli
Gabe Hanzeli
1 year ago

“In reality, the Bud Light can posted by a social media influencer that sparked all the conversation was provided by an outside agency without Anheuser-Busch management awareness or approval.”

Ok prove it. The AB executive just described copy right infringement. so lets see AB sue the can producer/ they will not that. You know why? because the can producer has a contract with the description of the can AB wanted.

Once again the analhueser Busch league executives have chosen to lie instead of being honest.

Why is it that Corporations go to lying every time rather then just being quiet or telling the truth.

The truth is that the leftist media and leftist school systems have created an illusion that american and the world is in a far different place as regards sexual orientation then they actually are. there are far far more people that believe in facts then the mentally ill delusion of the leftist cult.

AB needs to be honest and says we, as have many companies, got caught by that media trap and we are sorry.

johnh
johnh
1 year ago

My opinion, wait 6-months & see what the final outcome is to Bud Light consumption. And if this is still the biggest problem in USA still or will there be another important issue to rile up the troops ? Watch the movie “Wag the Dog”

Tina
Tina
1 year ago

That is what happens when you go woke. The fact that the person who insulted the people who buy this beer is still employed is a sure sign they didn’t get the message

Sharon Ormsby
Sharon Ormsby
1 year ago

Serves them all right! I don’t drink at all, never have, never will, but this really should show all companies what going woke will do to them.

Robin W Boyd
Robin W Boyd
1 year ago

Those who claim to be “woke” need to be woke up from the nightmare they are actually having. People do not like being manipulated with social engineering, especially when we are spending hard earned money on products manufactured by companies doing the manipulating.

Dave
Dave
1 year ago

I want a full and unambiguous apology with a complete and unambiguous rejection of woke or trans philosophies.

Louis
Louis
1 year ago

If you want to drink beer, drink real beer, American beer. Drink Yuengling! Drink Shiner! Both are truly American. ( this comment NOT paid for)

Gravy
Gravy
1 year ago

It is about time this reaction to the “woke” agenda occurred. Politics should be kept out of the marketplace. I do not care what sexual orientation you are as long as it is done in your own home behind closed doors. Politics needs to be kept out of sports and companies that sell goods and services.

Ed
Ed
1 year ago

Interesting, using lies to save your company.

Bill
Bill
1 year ago

It’s Miller Time

Gary
Gary
1 year ago

How can Doukeris say “Anheuser-Busch did not intend to create a controversy or make a political statement”. The VP of marketing, Alissa Heinerscheid, knew exactly what she was doing based on her comment: “Bud Light had been kind of a brand of fratty, kind of out of touch humor. It was really important that we had another approach.” Just another corporation trying to shove their woke equitable ideology down our throats.

Julie Lake
Julie Lake
1 year ago

More advertising won’t help unless it includes an apology.

phoenix
phoenix
1 year ago

The CEO is an idiot and should be fired immediately.

“Anheuser-Busch did not intend to create a controversy or make a political statement,” a clearly exasperated Doukeris wrote. “In reality, the Bud Light can posted by a social media influencer that sparked all the conversation was provided by an outside agency without Anheuser-Busch management awareness or approval.”

That is an absolute lie. The brand is the product. The brand is everything. And because the brand really is everything, THERE IS NO WAY THAT ANYTHING is done with the brand that EVERYONE DOES NOT sign off on.

So not only is he stupid. He is incompetent.

He also thinks his customers are stupid too. That they don’t understand marketing, Brands, Branding or how large multi-national companies work.

Guess what? They do. So they know you are lying.

Bud light is done. There is no integrity,

Bill
Bill
1 year ago

Miller Light Beer took the place of bud trans light here and as far as we are concered bud trans light beer is in the crapper…

Marc Ziegler
Marc Ziegler
1 year ago

Apparently, the Clydesdales have all left the barn, and also have a lot of Budweiser’s beer drinkers! Woke ideas and policies can go just so far until all you have left is total stupidity. This couldn’t happen to a better crowd of corporate idiots.

David Whitton
David Whitton
1 year ago

Hurray for the “Heart of America”. Woke is a Joke and I hope I’ve offended a bunch of people wanting to reconstruct the fabric of this country. My folks knew the Busch’s and August Jr. would be spinning.

Joe Reingold
Joe Reingold
1 year ago

Bud Light is no longer, now it’s Dud Light.

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