Bud Light loses top-selling U.S. beer spot to Mexico's Modelo Especial after Dylan Mulvaney debacle

Bud Light sales fell 24.4%, putting the St. Louis-based beer in second place as it accounted for 7.3% of all beer sales in America.

Published: June 14, 2023 9:45am

Bud Light lost its position as the top-selling beer in the United States to the Mexican lager Modelo Especial after the Anheuser-Busch brand came under fire for sending transgender influencer Dylan Mulvaney a custom Bud Light can.

Modelo, which is brewed near Mexico City by Constellation Brands, captured 8.4% of US retail beer sales for four weeks ending on June 3 and sales of the beer grew 12.2%, CNN reported Wednesday, citing data from beverage consulting firm Bump Williams.

Bud Light sales fell 24.4%, putting the St. Louis-based beer in second place as it accounted for 7.3% of all beer sales in America during that same time period.

"Modelo Especial appears to be increasing its sales growth each week as we get deeper into summer," Bump Williams said.

The one bright spot for Bud Light is that it remains the best-selling U.S. beer year-to-date, but that may change as the overall trend does not look good for the beer. Additionally, sales of other Anheuser-Busch products such as Busch Light, Michelob Ultra and Natural Light also fell since the partnership with Mulvaney.

"Unless Bud Light starts to experience a serious course correction in terms of performance, which can only come from consumers finding their way back into the brand family, then that firm grip on the No. 1 rank by year-end loosens a bit more every week," Dave Williams, the firm's vice president of analytics and insights, told CBS Money Watch.

Sales of Bud Light plummeted after Mulvaney posted pictures on Instagram with a custom Bud Light can that featured the influencer's picture to celebrate one year of transitioning to identify as a woman.

Anheuser-Busch blamed an ad agency for the debacle and placed multiple marketing executives on leave and the company reportedly even told wholesalers it would buy back unpurchased cases of expired beer as sales have lagged.

Madeleine Hubbard is an international correspondent for Just the News. Follow her on Twitter or Instagram.

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