As we start the fifth month of the never-ending controversy surrounding Bud Light, there is growing speculation that the beer might never recover the ground it has lost since early April. The disastrous Dylan Mulvaney promotion has led to various consequences, such as double-digit declines in sales, billions of lost market value for parent company Anheuser-Busch, and a tarnished brand image that could be irreparable.
Since the backlash unfolded, weekly sales figures have consistently decreased by almost 30 percent compared to the same time frame in 2022. Naturally, the biggest beneficiaries of these plummeting sales are Bud Light’s competitors. As consumers have boycotted Bud Light and other Anheuser-Busch products, they have turned to other brands such as Molson Coors, Yuengling, or Modelo Especial.
According to a Wall Street Journal article published this week, “Bud Light sales might never fully regain the ground they have lost to competitors.” The report noted that, in terms of sales, competitor Molson Coors was the biggest beneficiary of Bud Light’s misfortune.
“Meanwhile, the biggest beneficiary of Bud Light’s woes, Molson Coors Beverage,” the Wall Street Journal stated. “The maker of both Coors Light and Miller Lite said net sales in the second quarter rose 11.8% from a year earlier, or 12.1% in constant currency terms, in line with analyst estimates.”
The WSJ also points out that shares of Constellation Brands, the owner of Modelo Especial’s U.S. operations, are up significantly. “Shares of Constellation Brands, owner of the U.S. Modelo Especial brand, which has surpassed Bud Light as the country’s top-selling beer, are up around 19% since end-March,” the Journal reports.
The article states there is substantial evidence to believe that Bud Light sales are “permanently impaired,” drawing on statements from Molson Coors CEO Gavin Hattersley. The executive indicated on a conference call that retailers are taking shelf space normally allocated to Bud Light and placing other brands on it instead.
“There are reasons to believe that Bud Light sales might be permanently impaired. Molson Coors Chief Executive Gavin Hattersley said on a conference call with analysts that retailers are already reallocating space to other brands during shelf resets that take place in the spring, with more resets to come in the fall,” the WSJ reported. Reportedly, Molson Coors is also planning to spend an additional $100 million toward marketing in the second half of the year to continue increasing sales and claiming available market share left by the Bud Light boycott.
Similar to the Wall Street Journal’s conclusion that Bud Light may not recover the sales it has lost from the Mulvaney disaster, the American Tribune recently covered a survey that found the Bud Light boycott could be “permanent.” Jefferies Group LLC conducted research that found 65 percent of beer distributors anticipated the Bud Light boycott to continue for another six months from the time of the survey.
Moreover, 32 percent of the surveyed distributors believed the boycott would be permanent and continue indefinitely. Goldman Sachs also conducted market research that came to similar conclusions, where the majority of survey participants thought that Bud Light would never make a “full recovery.”
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