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Bud Light loses top sales spot to Modelo after boycott

Bud Light has lost its title as America's top-selling beer to Modelo. Calls to boycott Bud Light arose after transgender influencer Dylan Mulvaney posted about the brand on Instagram. Yahoo Finance Reporter Brooke DiPalma breaks down the latest beer sales numbers.

Video Transcript

[AUDIO LOGO]

JULIE HYMAN: Bud Light has been dealt a punch as it's been dethroned from the top spot in the US beer market share in recent weeks. Here with more in the details, Yahoo Finance's Brooke DiPalma. Brooke, so Bud Light has-- how long has Bud Light been on top for?

BROOKE DIPALMA: It's been quite a-- maybe even more than a decade.

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JULIE HYMAN: Yeah.

BROOKE DIPALMA: But now, Modelo is actually taking the top spot here. They stole, last month, the top spot in the US beer market. They hold about 8.4% of total retail sales in the US beer market. Bud Light now dropping, and they're holding about 7.3% of the total US beer market. Coors Light coming out to that at 6.2%, and Miller Lite maintaining its share throughout the month of May of 5.3%.

Now this comes after more than two months of Bud Light's partnership with trans influencer Dylan Mulvaney for an Instagram post around March Madness. And following that, we saw a boycott from Kid Rock, which prompted a protest to boycott the brand from many US consumers. After that, two Bud Light executives took a leave of absence, then in early May, we heard from Anheuser-Busch CEO on our earnings call.

Some think that he downplayed the situation, and that prompted some venues that support the LGBTQ+ community to reverse boycott the brand, but Bud Light trying to get a hold on the situation changed the narrative here. We know that they've invested significantly in marketing spend this summer. They aimed to focus on sports, music, and connecting with consumers.

And in addition to that, they also said that they would buy back expired brands-- expired cases that is from distributors but year to date, as you just saw, shares down of Anheuser-Busch 5.6%, so still trying to get a pulse on the situation.

- Yeah, it's incredible to see how much legs--

BROOKE DIPALMA: Right?

- --this has had, right? I mean, it was just that one post, and we continue to see the fallout. How does Bud Light recover?

BROOKE DIPALMA: Yeah, I mean, that is the number one question here, and as Modelo takes the spot in the last month, It's important to note here that year to date, if you combine the total of market share that it's held since January, it does still remain on top. So Bud Light has 9% of market share from January until June 3rd. Modelo coming in after that, then Coors Light, then Miller Lite. But, you know, that 1% difference equates to about a $200 million sales advantage that Bud Light still has over Modelo. That's according to Bump Williams Consulting.

And now, when you look closer to what we're seeing in the latest sales week ending June 3rd, Modelo is still making more sales here compared to Bud Light from a year-- compared to a year ago, Bud Light sales are down more than 24%. It's other brands like Budweiser also getting affected, you could see that here. And Coors Light and Modelo looking to, you know, really take advantage of the situation. They're making more sales in the latest week.

But also, we're seeing, as you noted, more stories continue to unfold. Just earlier this week, we heard from country singer Garth Brooks, who has a new bar down in Nashville, and he actually plans to include Bud Light in his offerings. He wants to be inclusive of all brands, and so certainly lots more to unfold here, and we'll be keeping a close eye on it.

JULIE HYMAN: I was just looking. So Modelo is owned by--

JULIE AND BROOKE: Constellation Brands.

BROOKE DIPALMA: Correct.

JULIE HYMAN: Ah, God. It's the whole thing is just--

BROOKE DIPALMA: Yeah, and shares of Constellation also benefiting from this year. To date, they're up nearly 7%, and so investors looking to other beer brands during this time as well.

JULIE HYMAN: Yeah.

BROOKE DIPALMA: And Bud Light, once again, losing shares. They're down about 5.6% year to date, and since this controversy began back in April, down 15%. So certainly feeling the pressure there on Wall Street as well.

JULIE HYMAN: Well, first I got boycotted by people who were upset about the ad campaign, but then if you're LGBTQ, I mean, like, there are few gay bars around and people-- gay people-- who drink, and trans people who drink-- who drinks Bud Light. I mean--

- I think it just-- it just points to--

BROOKE DIPALMA: Bud Light is an American brand.

JULIE HYMAN: I mean, come on. It's just--

- It points to the environment these companies have.

BROOKE DIPALMA: Yeah, culture war is certainly taking a toll on many companies. Not just food, not just beverage companies, but now it's expanding into retail. And so lots of fallout, all from back in April, and now Pride month certainly getting into more focus here.

JULIE HYMAN: OK. Brooke, thank you very much. Appreciate it.