The bad news continues for Bud Light. Since their ill-advised partnership with Dylan Mulvaney effectively launched an all-out boycott against the once-legendary brand, the company has lost market share, millions of dollars, and countless drinkers. It has gotten so bad that some industry insiders suggest that the company has permanently lost many consumers.
While many bars have limited the amount of Bud Light they carry or stopped carrying it at all, the company is taking a desperate stab at luring distributors into continuing to stock the flailing brew.
Anhueser-Busch is offering huge incentives to distributors to keep the beer on store shelves. Many retailers have been reassigning the limited space they have for more popular offerings. The company is offering as much as $150 million in incentive relief this year alone.
The incentives include reimbursements to distributors for freight and fuel surcharges and an extra five-day grace period to pay their bills to the brewery. One distributor said: “I imagine for those that are having some cash flow concerns, this would help somewhat.”
Anheuser Busch is also promoting a financial aid package that began in June, near the beginning of the fiasco. That particular relief program features sales incentive payments and has been extended through the spring.
Anheuser Busch also reportedly told distributors that have been hit hard by the Bud Light disaster that it’s establishing a “market share recovery program” starting in the second half of 2024 and continuing through the rest of that year.
Details were limited, but the timing of the program coincides with the time of year when retailers look at previous year’s sales as they make future plans for shelf space for hot items and how much to limit items that aren’t selling, like Bud Light.
Bud Light has reportedly lost more than 20% of its customers since April, and other brewers are seizing the opportunity to snag the displaced drinkers. Molson Coors, Constellation Brands, owner of Corona and Modelo Especial, and the oldest brewery in the US, Yuengling & Son, are among the brands angling for more shelf space in the upcoming year.
Molson Coors, which owns Miller Lite, reportedly “is gaining significant amounts of shelf space at dozens of major US retailers.” Further, Dick Yuengling, the 80-year-old Chief Executive of America’s oldest brewery, also has designs for more space on store shelves. He said: “We just want our fair share of the Bud Light debacle.”
It’s clear: Bud Light is in trouble. Like sharks in the water, competitors are gobbling up market share and shelf space. Bars are bailing on the once-iconic brand, and scores of blue-collar drinkers have moved on and aren’t returning.
It is impossible to feel sorry for the brand, as hair-brained marketing schemes, poor management, and an utter lack of self-awareness have sunk the once unsinkable beer. Though the company has thrown money at celebrity pitch-men, including several NFL stars, nothing has seemed to work in terms of luring once loyal drinkers back into the fold.
Time will tell if Bud Light will ever fully recover or if they will learn from this tremendous fiasco, but if they don’t make major changes, other brands are there to pick up the slack.
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