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Bud Light to buy back unsold beer after controversial Mulvaney partnership

May 23, 2023


Media Landscape

This story is a Media Miss by the left as only 0% of the coverage is from left leaning media.

Learn more about this data

Left 0%

Center 7%

Right 93%

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Bud Light and parent company Anheuser-Busch InBev are taking steps to mitigate losses among its independent distributors following a controversial partnership with transgender influencer Dylan Mulvaney. The company has informed wholesalers that it will repurchase unsold beer due to an ongoing boycott that has affected sales.

“The brewer recently told its wholesalers that it would buy back unsold cases of beer that have gone past their expiration date,” the Wall Street Journal reports. This controversy first began back in March when Mulvaney publicized that the beer company sent cans of Bud Light featuring the influencer’s face.

According to the Media Miss tool by Straight Arrow News, a substantial portion of left-leaning media outlets has allegedly neglected to cover the fallout of Bud Light’s partnership with Mulvaney. While 93% of media coverage on the matter comes from right-leaning sources such as Fox News and the New York Post, left-leaning outlets are currently absent from the list of those addressing this latest development in the Bud Light boycott. This story has also seen 7% of its coverage coming from outlets in the center.

Sales of Bud Light have recorded declines for six consecutive weeks, dropping 24.6% over the week ending on May 13 compared to the same period a year ago, according to data from Bump Williams Consulting and Nielsen NIQ. However, sales of rival beers have surged during that span. Sales of Coors Light jumped almost 23% over the week ending on May 13 compared to a year ago, as sales of Miller Lite climbed 21% over that period.

“This situation has impacted our people and especially our frontline workers: The delivery drivers; sales representatives; our wholesalers; Bud owners; and servers,” Anheuser-Busch InBev CEO Michel Doukeris said during an earnings call in April.

Amid the continued backlash from the Mulvaney partnership, Anheuser-Busch has also said it will triple its marketing budget this summer and give $500 cash bonuses to its drivers, retailers and salespeople.

Meanwhile, the company has attempted to distance itself from the collaboration with Mulvaney, claiming a “third-party ad agency” was responsible for it and that it never intended to sell the can, emphasizing that “this was one can, one influencer, one post and not a campaign.”

“We never intended to be part of a discussion that divides people. We are in the business of bringing people together over a beer,” Anheuser-Busch CEO Brendan Whitworth said in a statement. “My time serving this country taught me the importance of accountability and the values upon which America was founded: freedom, hard work and respect for one another. As CEO of Anheuser-Busch, I am focused on building and protecting our remarkable history and heritage.”

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