Anheuser-Busch Stock Downgraded as Bud Light Sales Continue to Plummet

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Anheuser-Busch
Anheuser-Busch experienced at least a 25 percent year-over-year drop in sales volume in April alone, signifying a major “crisis” at the company that he says its management is desperately trying to downplay. File photo: RozenskiP, Shutter Stock, licensed.

NEW YORK, NY – Anheuser-Busch InBev’s (ABI) stock has been downgraded by HSBC as sales of the company’s products – in particular, it’s Bud Light brand of beer – continue to plummet following a marketing campaign that featured transgendered influencer Dylan Mulvaney. 

HSBC downgraded ABI stock to a “hold” status, which means that they recommend that investors should not buy or sell its shares. 

The beer company experienced significant anti-LGBT backlash after their Bud Light brand partnered with  Mulvaney to commemorate their having lived “365 days of being a girl.” Mulvaney is best known for detailing their gender transition from biologically male to female in daily videos on the social media platform TikTok since early 2022; as of March 2023, the channel has over 10 million followers.   

According to Carlos Laboy, managing director at HSBC’s global beverage sector, Anheuser-Busch experienced at least a 25 percent year-over-year drop in sales volume in April alone, signifying a major “crisis” at the company that he says its management is desperately trying to downplay. 

“Is ABI’s leadership getting the brand culture transformation right? It’s mixed,” Laboy said. “At Ambev, we think the answer is ‘yes;’ in the US, we think it’s ‘no.’ The way this Bud Light crisis came about a month ago, management’s response to it and the loss of unprecedented volume and brand relevance raises many questions.” 

Laboy questioned the logic of ABI attempting to lure in new customers by seemingly going out of their way to alienate their existing base at the same time; for example, the executive at the head of the Mulvaney campaign – who has since taken a “leave of absence” – had been previously been quoted in interviews as wanting to update Bud Light’s “fratty” and “out of touch” humor. 

“Why did its US leadership underestimate the risk of pushback given the recent experience of other firms? Is A-B hiring the best people to grow the brands and gauge risk?” Laboy said. “If Budweiser and Bud Light are iconic American ideas that have long brought consumers together, why did these marketers fail to invite new consumers without alienating the core base of the firm’s largest brand?” 

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