Anheuser-Busch distributor blames ad agency for Dylan Mulvaney-Bud Light campaign

"We need to clarify the facts that this was one can, one influencer, one post and not a campaign," CEO Michel Doukeris said.

Published: May 4, 2023 5:16pm

Grey Eagle, a distributor for Anheuser-Busch, has blamed the beer giant's disastrous marketing partnership with Dylan Mulvaney on an outside ad agency, saying the firm provided the can featuring the transgender influencer's image without consulting the company.

"Anheuser-Busch did not intend to create controversy or make a political statement," reads a letter from the distributor to local retailers and restaurants that the Daily Mail obtained. "In reality, the Bud Light can posted by a social media influencer that sparked all the conversation was provided by an outside agency without Anheuser-Busch management awareness or approval."

Earlier this year, Bud Light entered into a paid partnership with Mulvaney, which the influencer confirmed via Instagram, revealing a custom Bud Light can that included Mulvaney's image and a message celebrating the one-year anniversary of the social media star being a "woman."

The partnership prompted mass outrage from the beer's traditional clientele, who subsequently launched a boycott against Bud Light, which has seen a 26% decline in sales in the aftermath, the Mail noted.

Though the distributor claimed an outside ad agency was responsible for the incident, Bud Light's vice president of marketing, Alissa Heinerscheid, has taken a leave of absence in its aftermath and Vice President for Mainstream Brands Daniel Blake was subsequently placed on leave as well. 

Anheuser-Busch CEO Michel Doukeris on Thursday attempted to distance the brand from the partnership in an earning calls, saying that "misinformation" had spread about the Mulvaney deal.

"We need to clarify the facts that this was one can, one influencer, one post and not a campaign," he said, according to Fox Business.

He further indicated that the company was prepared to recover from the backlash, saying "[w]e believe we have the experience, the resources and the partners to manage this. And our four-year growth outlook is unchanged."

The company plans to triple advertisement spending on Bud Light over the summer, Doukeris said.

Ben Whedon is an editor and reporter for Just the News. Follow him on Twitter.

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