Bud Light Dethroned as Top-Selling U.S. Beer by Modelo Especial

Bud Light loses its top-selling position to Modelo Especial amid a months-long boycott.

Bud Light Dethroned as Top-Selling U.S. Beer by Modelo Especial
Photo by Brian Yurasits / Unsplash

Modelo Especial Takes the Lead

Modelo Especial has become the top-selling beer in the U.S., dethroning Bud Light, after a boycott that has significantly impacted the beer industry. As of early June, Modelo accounted for 8.4% of U.S. retail-store beer sales, while Bud Light held 7.3%, according to Nielsen data analysis by Bump Williams consulting firm.

Bud Light's Sales Slump

Bud Light's sales began to plummet in April following a controversial Instagram post by transgender influencer Dylan Mulvaney, which sparked an uproar and subsequent boycott. Anheuser-Busch's response to the issue further fueled the controversy. As of the first week of June, Bud Light's sales were down around 24% compared to the same week in the previous year. Other Anheuser-Busch brands, including Budweiser and Michelob Ultra, have also seen sales drops.

Effects on Distributors and Future Outlook

The ongoing sales decline is a concern for Bud Light distributors, especially during the crucial sales period between Memorial Day and the Fourth of July. Despite the current situation, Bud Light’s total sales for the first five months of the year still surpass any other beer, and Anheuser-Busch remains the country's largest brewer. However, some distributors are considering the possibility of Bud Light's permanent dethronement.

Growth of Modelo Especial

Modelo Especial, sold in the U.S. by Constellation Brands, has seen significant growth since 2013 when it was not even among the top 10 U.S. beer brands. The beer is now popular not only among Hispanic consumers but also with non-Hispanic customers. Despite the ongoing boycott, Anheuser-Busch is ramping up new Bud Light ad production and has promised to buy back unsold beer cases past their expiry date.

Source: The Wall Street Journal

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