Bud Light No Longer the Top Beer in America After Controversy
This Bud's (maybe not) for you.
Bud Light -- the brand that has retained dominance as America's top-selling beer for at least the past two decades -- has lost its No. 1 spot, according to a report from the New York Times. In the four-week period ending June 3, the brand fell from around 10 percent of all the U.S.' retail beer sales to 7.3 percent. Taking its place as the country's top-selling beer is Mexican brand Modelo Especial, which now accounts for 8.4 percent of U.S. retail beer sales.
That dip comes after Bud Light, which is owned by parent company Anheuser-Busch, became embroiled in an early-April marketing controversy stemming from a one-off partnership with transgender influencer Dylan Mulvaney.
Bud Light sent Mulvaney a handful of beers, including one custom Bud Light can with her face on it, and on April 1, she posted an Instagram video of the gift as part of a March Madness promotion. Bud Light's association with a member of the LGBTQ+ community sparked outrage from some of its conservative fan base, who went on to boycott the brand.
Subsequently, Anheuser-Busch parted ways with two marketing executives, but this attempt to backtrack drew further backlash from LGBTQ+ members and supporters.
The data showing Modelo Especial's newfound dominance over Bud Light only accounts for off-premise, retail sales, meaning that it does not take into account sales of beer in bars or other establishments selling alcohol for consumption on the premises.
The Bud Light controversy has been heated in the country genre. Travis Tritt announced plans to discontinue all Anheuser-Busch products from his tour rider, sparking a since-resolved Twitter skirmish with Zach Bryan, who called anti-trans sentiment "completely wrong." Kid Rock posted video of himself opening fire on cases of Bud Light, and John Rich vowed to wipe the beer brand from the shelves of his downtown Nashville bar.
Meanwhile, Garth Brooks -- who's currently planning the opening of his own Nashville hot spot -- says his bar will serve "every brand of beer," including Bud Light, explaining that it should be up to the consumers what they drink, and adding that "If you're an a--hole, there are plenty other places on Lower Broadway [to go.]"
The New York Times report cites research showing that the effects of consumer boycotts are often temporary. Bud Light remains the top-selling beer in the U.S. based on year-to-year data, and it also remains the top-selling beer brand by volume.