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Molson Coors’ gains from Bud Light furore fizzle out

Brewer Molson Coors Beverage Company reaped the benefits from a consumer boycott of Bud Light. However its lucky streak appears to have come to an end as analysts downgraded the company this week.


When conservative Americans began boycotting Bud Light from April 2023 following the brand’s marketing collaboration with Dylan Mulvaney, Molson Coors was rubbing its hands with glee.

What followed was a record year of sales for Molson Coors, which owns brands including Coors Light and Miller Lite, as US consumers increasingly chose to buy these products over Bud Light. In its February earnings call, Molson Coors said the company had delivered “six years of profit growth” in 2023.

However, the company’s lucky streak looks to have come to an end, as this week financial analysts downgraded Molson Coors to ‘neutral’ status. Following the move, shares of Molson Coors fell 0.4%, though the stock is still up around 9% over the past 12 months.

City analysts said that the brewer “is starting to cycle a record year (2023), which greatly benefitted from large US market-share benefits on its Coors Light/Miller Lite brands from the Bud Light controversy starting in mid-April 2023.”

Early April data showed Molson Coors’ beer sales and volumes turning negative year-on-year as the company laps last year’s gains.

The backlash against Bud Light was furious but ultimately fizzled out within five months. By September 2023 consumer outrage towards the brand seemed to have tailed off with 80% saying they felt “favourable or neutral” about Bud Light. Since then, the brand has stepped up its marketing actions, including sponsoring NFL team the Washington Commanders, despite previously parting ways with the side.

The news of its waning beer sales may not be quite as worrying as it sounds, as Molson Coors recently revealed it is looking to move beyond beer to explore different types of drinks including no-and-low products.

CEO Gavin Hattersley said that consumers in their 20s are focused on health and wellbeing, and this “change in behaviour” was influencing the company’s overall strategy.

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