Shares of Bud Light parent company Anheuser-Busch InBev (BUD) are down 7.6% since the company reported earnings May 4 as the Dylan Mulvaney controversy continues to weigh on the beer giant’s sales.
Bud Light sales during the week of May 6 declined 23.6% compared to the same time period last year, according to data from Bump Williams Consulting and Nielsen NIQ cited by Evercore ISI.
That’s a slightly larger decline than the prior week ending April 29, which saw Bud Light sales down 23.4% year-over-year. Following the initial boycott, sales were down 6.9% for the week ending April 8.
It’s the fourth straight week of declining sales for Bud Light — and comes after Mulvaney, a transgender influencer and TikTok personality, made an Instagram post during March Madness basketball endorsing the beer.
Following the post, the company saw sales lower throughout April and into May following an April 3 video from country singer Kid Rock, which apparently prompted a wider-spread boycott among certain US consumers.
AB InBev’s entire portfolio has also seemed to feel the impact.
Sales of Budweiser dropped 11.4% the week ending April 29; that drop marginally recovered to a 9.7% year-on-year decline for the week ending May 6.
Michelob Ultra also saw sales drop as low as 4.3% year-over-year the week ending April 29; last week, sales were down 2.9% over last year for the beer brand.
Anheuser-Busch InBev CEO Michel Dimitrios Doukeris downplayed the controversy in a call with investors. He said that the Mulvaney endorsement was “one post, not a formal campaign or advertisement.” Mulvaney has 1.8 million followers on Instagram.
Following the call, others, including from the LGBTIQA+ community like 2Bears Tavern Uptown in Chicago, decided to boycott the brand too.
In an Instagram post, the bar venue said “Anheuser-Busch’s decision to drop its support of Mulvaney in response to ignorant and hateful objections by some of its customers shows how little Anheuser-Busch cares about the LGBTIQA+ community…”
A ‘stabilization’ for the decline
While Bud Light sales are still on the decline, Evercore ISI analyst Robert Ottenstein said the company may have seen the worst of it with the summer drinking months around the corner.
In a note to clients, Ottenstein said: “A second week of flattish trends strengthens the possibility that tracked channels have reached a point of stabilization, albeit at significantly lower levels for AB InBev than prior to the controversy.”
AB InBev’s Doukeris said the company has “significantly increased” investments in its US brands, “including tripling our medium (marketing) spend over the summer” as it aims to focus on sports, music and connecting with consumers “what beer needs to do.”
Recent sales trends for the rest of AB InBev’s portfolio may also mean better news is on the horizon.
“While Bud Light trends stayed essentially the same, the rest of ABI’s portfolio improved sequentially, which is a positive sign that trends impacting the rest of the portfolio may be starting to reverse,” Ottenstein said. “However, we also note that all of TAP’s brands accelerated in the latest week, which may indicate that overall industry strength positively impacted the data.”
The week ending May 6 also served as the biggest sales week for Molson Coors’ (TAP) portfolio since the controversy hit its competitor.
Last week, sales of Coors Light were up 22.2% year-over-year while Miller Lite sales rose 22.8%.
Brooke DiPalma is a reporter for Yahoo Finance. Follow her on Twitter at @BrookeDiPalma or email her at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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