In a truly stunning and unprecedented consumer boycott in the alcohol beverage industry, sales of Bud Light have continued to decline with over $15 billion being wiped off the value of ABInBev since the controversy over the Dylan Mulvaney endorsement began. Whether or not a boycott like this could ever invade the spirit and culture of craft beer is unlikely, but still unknown.
It is a boycott that has drawn almost daily coverage on mainstream news as sales of Bud Light continue to plummet. Volumes of Bud Light for the week ending May 13 fell by 28.4%, extending a downward trend from 27.7% decline last week and around 23% a fortnight ago, according to figures from Beer Business Daily.
The implications for craft brewers are murky. Sales gains will only be seen by brands that compete with Bud Light, so little to nothing is to be gained in sales by even the largest craft brewers. Craft brewers have been known to endorse controversial issues, but on a micro-scale compared to this. It does seem to indicate that in today’s political polarization, if you cross a line on an issue that matters to a large portion of your consumer base, social media and talk show pundits have the potential to spread it far and wide, and put a spin on it that may not have been intended. It is an unfortunate lesson that large companies are watching closely. Hopefully it is a consumer behavior pattern that does nor permeate the more authentic ethos of craft beer.