Bud Light is no longer the best-selling beer in the United States

Bud Light sales plunged in May, knocking the beer brand from its long-standing perch as the nation’s top-selling beer.

Parent company Anheuser-Busch InBev (ABI) sold $297 million worth of Bud Light in the four weeks ending May 28, down 23% from the same period a year earlier, according to the consumer behavior data analytics company Circana. Modelo Especial ranked No. 1 in May, with $333 million in sales, a 15% increase from 2022.

Bud Light’s drop in sales follows a promotional debacle with TikTok star Dylan Mulvaney, a trans rights activist and actress, which sparked an outcry among conservatives, including singers like Kid Rock and Travis Tritt , who called for a boycott of popular beer.

The company’s attempt to distance itself from the campaign prompted further backlash, this time from the LGBTQ+ community, with some bars removing all Anheuser-Busch products from their menu.

ABI did not immediately respond to a request for comment Thursday.

“Serious course correction” needed

Granted, Bud Light is still wildly popular and has sold more cases than any competitor year-to-date, but the Mulvaney fiasco threatens to change that, according to Bump Williams Consulting, which tracks the bud industry. ‘alcohol.

“Unless Bud Light begins to experience a serious course correction in performance, which can only come from consumers finding their way back into the brand family, then this firm hold on the #1 rank of here the end of the year is loosening up a little more every week,” Dave Williams, vice president of analytics and insights at Bump Williams Consulting, told CBS MoneyWatch.

Modelo Especial is a pilsner-style lager that originated nearly 100 years ago in Mexico. Constellation Brands purchased Modelo from ABI in 2013. Since then, Constellation has prioritized Modelo sales, including ensuring stores never ran out of stock, Williams said.

Constellation also plans to increase sales of the brand by introducing “Modelo to new consumers through increased distribution and retail presence,” spokeswoman Stephanie McGuane told CBS MoneyWatch on Thursday.

Summer sales energize competition

The next two months will be crucial for Bud Light sales as summer ushers in more vacations and beer drinking, Williams said. Breweries are also taking advantage of the summer to place more in-store displays at grocery stores and gas stations, he added.

“Businesses are investing heavily to be front and center during this season, as there is only a limited amount of floor space to allocate; consumer money to spend and beer occasions to fill out,” Williams said. “And if a brand misses those opportunities, it’s almost impossible to fully recoup that lost potential over the rest of the calendar year.”

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