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Bud Light no longer America’s top selling beer

Constellation Brands has claimed Mexican lager Modelo Especial is now the number one selling beer in the US, overtaking Bud Light, according to reports.

The US distributor said its sales topped US$333 million in the four weeks to 28 May, which is a 15.6% rise on last year across the same period. Bud Light sold US$297 million – a 22.8% fall – in May, according to figures obtained by Newsweek.

Other NielsenIQ sales data also seen by the publication revealed Modelo Especial’s sales were around US$341.9 million compared to Bud Light’s US$298.6 million in a similar four week period.

But across the year to-date, Bud Light still remained the number one beer.


Going forward, analysts from financial services company Jeffries have said that the “Bud Light saga may endure”. It said that within their survey of beer distributors some 65% believed that “protracted Bud Light demand weakness” is “expected to linger” with an expectation the controversy could last more than six months. A third of respondents believed there could be a “permanent lapse in Bud Light consumers” as well.

There are also some signs the week-on-week fall in sales of Bud Light could be slowing with a 23.9% decrease in sales last week compared to a year ago, according to the NielsenIQ data. In the previous week, sales were down 29.5% year-on-year for the week ending 20 May with a revenue drop of 25.7% across the same period.

This follows a drop of 28.4% in the week ending 13 May, extending a downward trend from 27.7% decline the week before, and around 23% at the beginning of May.

The fall follows weeks of decline for both Bud Light and the stocks in its parent company, AB InBev. Across all brands, AB InBev has seen sales slip across the board by 10% or more each of the past four weeks of May.

Instagram post

The issue began after Mulvaney was gifted the Bud Light as part of the company’s ‘March Madness’ contest – and to celebrate the one-year anniversary since Mulvaney begain identifying as a woman.

The marketing company Captiv8, who pairs big blue-chip brands with influencers, was claimed by reports to be responsible for introducing Anheuser-Busch to the social media influencer, with two executives involved in the Mulvaney post at AB InBev going on leave in April.

The impact of Dylan Mulvaney’s one Instagram post has resulted in approximately $27 billion lost in market value for AB InBev. On 31 March, AB InBev’s market value was US$134.55bn, but on 1 April, influencer Dylan Mulvaney posted on Instagram about being a Bud Light partner. Since that point AB InBev has declined by almost 20% in market value, hitting around $107 billion by the end of May, according to the Dow Jones Market Tracker.

Sales people for Anheuser-Busch are also reportedly losing as much as $2000 last month compared to a typical May due to the backlash following the endorsement video.

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