Bud Light sales are tanking amid ongoing controversy over the beer company's decision to partner with transgender activist Dylan Mulvaney.
Sales of the famous lager fell 21% by volume and 17% by dollars for the week ending April 15, according to the latest sales data.
"These numbers are staggering," explained beer newsletter Insights Express. "Right now this is an extremely difficult scenario for Anheuser-Busch, the Bud Light brand and for AB distributors."
Last week's numbers are a sharp fall from the sales drop experienced in the first week of the controversy. For the week ending April 8 — the first week after Mulvaney announced the sponsorship on April 1 — Bud Light sales were down 6% in dollars and 11% in volume.
To make matters worse for Anheuser-Busch, its top competitors are benefiting from the controversy. Coors Light and Miller Light both have seen massive increases in their sales — nearly 18%.
The dismal sales numbers came as two Anheuser-Busch marketing executives — Alissa Heinerscheid, who led Bud Light's marketing, and Daniel Blake, who led marketing for Anheuser-Busch's mainstream brands — are taking leaves of absence. The decision to step away, according to the Wall Street Journal, was not "voluntary."
It's not clear when, or if, either executive will return.
Meanwhile, beer distributors, whom sluggish sales hurt directly, are meeting with Anheuser-Busch in Washington, D.C., on Tuesday, where they are "looking for a much more pointed and well developed plan on how Anheuser-Busch might stem the onslaught of negative attention and sales trends," Insights Express reported.
Bud Light attempted to quell outrage last week by releasing a new advertisement dripping with patriotism. But reaction to the ad suggested the controversy will not go away easily.
"It's like the f***ing dumbest pro-America rah-rah. Like, we don't know who you really are now," Joe Rogan reacted on his podcast. "It's so stupid and cliché. It hurts my feelings, it's so dumb. ... This is a company in deep s**t."
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