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Trump urges US beer drinkers to return to Bud Light
Former US President Donald Trump has asked his followers to give Bud Light owner AB InBev “a second chance” as results continue to slide.
While the Kansas City Chiefs were dramatically beating the San Francisco 49ers in the Superbowl last weekend, AB InBev, one of the game’s biggest backers, found itself embroiled in a bout of political football thanks to former President Donald Trump.
AB InBev has invested heavily in rebuilding its Bud Light beer brand – not least through hugely expensive Superbowl advertising – following the furore generated by transgender influencer Dylan Mulvaney promoting Bud Light with a personalised can last April.
The partnership triggered a backlash among American conservatives and Bud Light’s sales plummeted by 30% in the following months. Despite hints of a partial recovery, the beer brand’s results remain affected. Nielsen figures for January 2024 show them languishing 29.5% below the level achieved in the same month last year.
The slump also meant that for the first time in two decades Bud Light was ousted as America’s best-selling beer by Constellation Brands’ Modelo Especial.
Last week Trump publicly backed AB InBev and urged drinkers to switch their support back to the brand.
On social media he called the Mulvaney link-up “a mistake of epic proportions”, but insisted that “Anheuser-Busch is not a Woke company.”
Overlooking the fact that AB InBev is formally a Belgian company, he posted: “Anheuser-Busch is a Great American Brand that perhaps deserves a Second Chance? What do you think? Perhaps, instead, we should be going after those companies that are looking to DESTROY AMERICA!”
Trump went on to say that he was “building a list” of alternative “woke” companies that he claimed were working to “destroy America,” and threatened to release it “for the World to see.”
Not entirely impartial
Democrat rivals were quick to point out that the ex-President, who is standing for a second term as a Republican candidate in this year’s election, may not be entirely impartial where AB InBev is concerned.
In the past, they said, Trump had backed the world’s biggest brewing group by saying: “Anheuser-Busch spends US$700 Million a year with our GREAT Farmers, employ 65 thousand Americans, of which 1,500 are Veterans, and is a Founding Corporate Partner of Folds of Honor, which provides Scholarships for families of fallen Servicemen & Women.”
Not only that, Democrats pointed out that Trump is scheduled to attend a fundraising event next month hosted by Republican lobbyist Jeff Miller, whose firm reportedly received US$260,000 from AB InBev last year.
Further, records indicate that Trump himself has a personal stake in AB InBev worth US$5 million so, his critics claimed, he will not be unhappy that the brewer’s shares shot up on his pronouncement.
They now stand only marginally below the 12-month high of US$67.09 a share achieved before the Malvaney partnership.