Bud Light has allegedly conveyed to its distributors that it would repurchase any unsold stock once it reaches its expiry date. This decision comes as the company continues to grapple with the controversy stirred by its divisive partnership with transgender influencer Dylan Mulvaney.
The Wall Street Journal has detailed in an extensive article the challenges faced by Bud Light after conservatives nationwide started shunning the brand. The situation originated in March when Mulvaney announced that Bud Light had distributed packs of beer adorned with the influencer's likeness, marking a complete year of her "girlhood." The backlash was immediate and fierce, resulting in the campaign now being viewed as one of the most divisive ever to unfold in the digital realm.
It now appears that Anheuser-Busch, the parent company, is implementing measures to support its distributors who have incurred losses.
Bud Light is getting crushed so badly the company reportedly is buying back expired cases that went unsold.
— OutKick (@Outkick) May 22, 2023
"The brewer recently told its wholesalers that it would buy back unsold cases of beer that have gone past their expiration date," the Wall Street Journal report.
Anheuser-Busch has not provided an immediate response to a request for comment.
"Anheuser-Busch works with 385 independent distributors, or wholesalers, across the country," the WSJ continued. "Many of them are family-owned businesses that have carried Anheuser-Busch products for generations… the wholesalers’ employees, many driving trucks bearing the Bud Light logo, were soon confronted by angry people on streets, in stores and in bars. There were bomb threats at several Anheuser-Busch facilities and wholesaler locations."
In comparison to the previous year, Bud Light's retail sales in the U.S. experienced a 23.6% decrease in the week ending May 6. This figure exceeded the 23.3% decline observed in the final week of April, as reported by the New York Post, citing data from Bump Williams Consulting and NielsenIQ.
Michel Doukeris, the CEO of Anheuser-Busch InBev, has sought to minimize the significance of the partnership with Mulvaney. He conveyed to investors that there is a spread of "misinformation" on social media regarding the company's collaboration with the influencer.
In the wake of the backlash, the company has tried to reconcile with its clientele. Alissa Heinerscheid, Bud Light's vice president of marketing, and Daniel Blake, the person in charge of marketing for Anheuser-Busch's mainstream brands, both went on a leave of absence. This action was particularly precipitated by Heinerscheid's public criticism of the brand in an interview, where she disparaged it as formerly being "fratty" and having "out-of-touch humor."
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