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Saturday, December 2, 2023

Anheuser-Busch U.S. marketing head is out

Bud Light sales plunged. Experts said Modelo Especial would have become the top U.S. beer in the near future anyway, but the combination of the two brands’ sales trajectories and the boycotts gave it the title sooner.

The company tried to escape the controversy and win back people who were swearing off Bud Light. Whitworth said in a statement on April 14 that the company “never intended to be part of a discussion that divides people.”

Weeks later, the company put two top marketing executives on leave. Ahead of Memorial Day, it offered big rebates on Bud Light as well.

The marketing shake-up continued in July as the company said it would lay off 350 employees, or around 2% of its U.S. staff.

Meanwhile Mulvaney said Anheuser-Busch never reached out to her even as she dealt with personal fallout from the boycott. She added that the company’s response “gives customers permission to be as transphobic and hateful as they want.”

Shares of Anheuser-Busch’s parent company, AB InBev, fell from about $66 to $45 at the height of the controversy. They have since recovered most of those losses and closed at about $61 on Wednesday.

Over the last five years, though, AB InBev stock has fallen 22%, while Modelo parent Constellation Brands has risen 21%. Molson Coors is down about 8% over that time, and smaller competitor Boston Beer has gained 11%.

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