Bud Light have sparked controversy in Liverpool after handing out cans of beer to rough sleepers.
As reported by the Liverpool Echo, Bud Light took to the city centre, offering the public free sample cans to drive brand awareness.
Eye witnesses, however, reported that homeless people were being given multiple cans with one main claiming he had been given a ‘trolley full.’
Speaking to the newspaper, he said: “They were just handing them out to everyone, I ended up with a trolley full. I think it was sound.”
“I think it’s okay giving those out – it doesn’t do any harm, does it?”
The branded Bud Light 4×4 was quickly removed from the site by council staff, after it emerged it had not been permission to park there.
Commenting on the stunt, Nick Small, city centre councillor said: “They [Bud Light] have done this without permission from the council’s Licensing Team or City Centre Team.
“I’ve had reports from members of the public that they’ve seen street drinkers and other vulnerable residents being handed free cans of beer by Bud Light.
“I’m outraged that this is happening when Liverpool schools are on half-term too.
“I’d like to thank the City Council’s Licensing and City Centre Teams for acting so quickly and getting the van moved.
“I’m demanding that enforcement action is taken against the company for what appears to be a flagrant breach of alcohol promotion guideline and licensing laws. This has no place whatsoever in Liverpool or anywhere else.”
Mr Small’s views were shared by Twitter users who questioned both the company’s morality and the timing of the campaign.
The condemnation was not universal, however, as one user pointed out that Bud Light were giving beer to everyone, not just the homeless.
The user continued that it would be unfair to deprive a homeless person of a free beer, with another adding that it was likely to be the only drink that they would get that day.
In a statement responding to the Liverpool Echo’s article, Anheuser-Busch said: “As a company and founding member of the Portman Group, we are committed to not only promoting responsible drinking, but also to showing good moral conduct across everything we do. We take these duties very seriously and apologise on this occasion for any offence the sampling of our products may have caused.
“For our UK Bud Light sampling tour we have strong processes in place to make sure only those of legal drinking age and who are not under the influence receive a single 150ml sample can of Bud Light. With these measures we also aim to be inclusive whilst ensuring our products do not fall into the hands of vulnerable people. All of our teams conducted ID checks as part of the Challenge 25 scheme and stamped individuals’ hands after they received a free sample to ensure just one was given per person.
“We are investigating how this incident, which we believe to be isolated, came to pass but until then we are putting a hold on any further public sampling activity.”
Bud Light was launched in the UK in February but has been criticised following the lower alcohol content compared to the US version (4.2% in the US vs 3.5% in the UK.)
In 2015, the company was lambasted on social media following “rapey” slogans printed on bottles.