The entire beer industry is floored that Bud Light is still taking heat over its now-infamous promo with transgender influencer Dylan Mulvaney and the backlash has put rival beers in high demand, according to the publisher of prominent trade publication Beer Business Daily.
“The whole industry is in shock. Even Bud’s competitors aren’t really dancing on the grave because they know it could have happened to them,” Beer Business Daily editor and publisher Harry Schuhmacher told Fox News Digital.
“This particular promotion just really struck a chord. It was just a bridge too far, apparently, for consumers… we’re in week six and it doesn’t look like it’s getting any better,” he continued. “In fact, the numbers just keep getting a little worse every week… down in the 25% area. And their competitors are up almost just as much, and that’s continuing through today.”
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Schuhmacher, who regularly speaks to beer distributors across North America, believes newfound demand for light lagers that aren’t owned by Anheuser-Busch could result in a trickle-down effect on the industry. Molson Coors, the parent company of both Coors Light and Miller Lite, might not even be able to supply enough beer as Americans enter a holiday weekend that unofficially kicks off the start of summer.
“You can’t just flip a switch and make beer. You know, beer is brewed. It takes, you know, at least a couple of weeks to make. So, they haven’t had major supply issues yet, but we’re about to hit Memorial Day and we could probably see some supply shortages there,” Schuhmacher said.
Molson Coors did not immediately respond to a request for comment. A company insider told Fox News Digital that there are no “out-of-stock concerns” ahead of Memorial Day Weekend because inventory was built up over the winter.
Schuhmacher explained that Anheuser-Busch has begun buying back unsold, expired beer from distributors, which brings much relief as those are the people who normally bear the brunt of the costs when a product isn’t purchased. While it’s a step in the right direction, distributors who rely on Americans purchasing Bud Light will continue to suffer.
“The sales are just still plummeting down,” he said.
“Keep in mind, this is the beginning of the beer-selling season. We sell beer in the third quarter, and we’re about to hit Memorial Day,” Schuhmacher continued. “With these trends, it’s starting to be material for AB’s bottom line, at least in the United States and North America.”
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Schuhmacher feels that Anheuser-Busch’s parent company, InBev, has kept a low profile during the weeks-long saga wile hoping it “blows over” while simultaneously increasing the marketing budget and offering heavy discounts at retail.
“Their experience tells them that you don’t want to add to the conversation and add to the noise, because then it just repeats the news cycle,” he said. “Boycotts like this usually do blow over… fairly quickly, within a couple of weeks or so. So, this is really unusual to go into two months.”
Schuhmacher, who has worked in the beer industry for over three decades in multiple positions and has published Beer Business Daily for 20 years, believes backlash will eventually die down, and Bud Light will stay on top despite long-lasting scars.
“I think there is probably a degree of permanent damage to the brand. But in the long term, things usually revert back to the mean,” he said.
The appetite for news and analysis of the Bud Light debacle is still strong, and Beer Business Daily, a niche publication which focuses on the North American commercial beer industry, has exploded in popularity.
“We haven’t really seen it since 2008 when Miller bought Coors, or they merged and InBev bought Anheuser-Busch. So, yeah, there’s tremendous interest in this and our traffic on our website is blowing up,” Schuhmacher said. “It’s a story that just won’t die.”
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As conservatives have distanced themselves from Bud Light, retail juggernaut Target has found itself in a similar boat. Target is under fire for over-the-top LGBTQ Pride displays, and the store has been widely criticized for including children’s products and “tuck” friendly bathing suits. Some Targets in rural areas were forced by corporate rulers to move the Pride sections to less-trafficked areas of the stores because executives feared a “Bud Light situation” emerging, an insider previously told Fox News Digital.
Schuhmacher understands why the beer giant has caught more flak up to this point.
“In the public psyche, Bud Light has always been considered so much of a deep Americana, middle America, working man and woman’s beer. And when you just flip that completely on its end, it’s hard for the consumer to swallow,” he said.
“I think the difference, you know, Target is more geared towards women, high-end middle American women,” Schuhmacher continued. “But Bud Light is not that far in the middle of the spectrum, at least in the consumer’s mind of where it’s supposed to be.”