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Bud Light sales slump following boycott over Anheuser-Busch promotion with Dylan Mulvaney

Inside the Bud Light-Dylan Mulvaney backlash
Bud Light and Dylan Mulvaney: Why the extreme backlash from a single social media post? 06:50

For Anheuser-Busch Inbev, the aftereffects of a marketing promotion involving Bud Light and transgender influencer Dylan Mulvaney is lingering like a bad hangover. 

The brewing giant on Thursday reported that its U.S. revenue in April-to-June quarter fell 10.5% from a year ago, attributing the decline "primarily due to the volume decline of Bud Light." It has lost its place as America's best-selling beer after more than two decades, slipping into second place in June behind Mexican lager Modelo Especial, which is also owned by the Belgium-based ABInBev.

The company faced backlash after sending a commemorative Bud Light can to Mulvaney, who posted it to her millions of social media followers.

Conservative figures and others called for a boycott of Bud Light, while Mulvaney's supporters criticized the beer brand for not doing enough to support her. Mulvaney has said she faced bullying and transphobia, criticizing the brand for not reaching out to her amid the furor over their partnership.

In the month ending July 15, Bud Light's U.S. sales were down 26.5%, while Modelo's were up 13.5%. Bud Light held a 6.8% share of the U.S. beer market in that period, while Modelo held an 8.7% share. 

Still, the company topped Wall Street forecasts, with its overall revenue rising 7.2% in the second quarter to $15.1 billion from the same period a year ago as global brands such as Stella Artois and Corona offset the loss in Bud Light sales. It said earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization rose 5%, to $4.9 billion.

Customers "want to enjoy their beer without a debate," CEO Michel Doukeris told Wall Street analysts on Thursday in a call to discuss the latest earnings. "They want Bud Light to focus on beer."

Anheuser-Busch also has been at the center of political attacks. Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis recently suggested the state could take legal action against Anheuser-Busch over the tie-in with Mulvaney. DeSantis told Fox News that the state's pension fund contained over $50 million worth of Anheuser-Busch shares and that the controversy had hurt the value of its holdings. 

Anheuser-Busch CEO on Bud Light boycotts, his company's reponse and comeback strategy 09:04

DeSantis also also sent a letter to Florida's State Board of Administration, which manages its pension fund, asking staff "to review how AB InBev's conduct has impacted and continues to impact the value of SBA's AB InBev holdings." 

Anheuser-Busch InBev said last week is laying off roughly 2% of workers "across every corporate function." That represents about 380 of AB InBev's roughly 19,000 employees. 

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