Bud Light no longer America’s top-selling beer after backlash to Dylan Mulvaney collab

A colection of Pride-themed Bud Light bottles.

Bud Light is no longer the top-selling beer in America following the bigoted backlash to a collaboration with trans TikToker Dylan Mulvaney, in which the company gave the star a single can of beer.

Right-wing beer-drinkers demanded boycotts of the brand and destroyed bottles on social media, while some Americans even went as far as to launch their own attempt at a rival, ‘woke-free’ beer.

The Anheuser-Busch-owned beer brand was reportedly knocked off of the top spot after its sales dropped by over 24 per cent in early 2023, with Mexican lager group Constellation Brands’ beer Modelo Especial moving to first place.

According to statistics reported by consulting firm Bump Williams and provided by NielsenIQ, Bud Light captured 7.3 per cent of retail beer sales in the US over four weeks in May, while Modelo captured 8.4.

Budweiser, another beer owned by Anheuser-Busch, also took a hit, with its sales dropping by 9.2 per cent.

Collectively, Anheuser-Busch’s growth declined by 12 per cent across the four weeks ending on 20 May.

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Despite the significant dip in sales, Bud Light still remains on top on a year-to-date basis, meaning that Modelo still has “a long way to go” before overtaking Bud Light fully, according to Bump Williams.

Dylan Mulvaney, in a silver dress, walking down a street.
The trans influencer was the subject of an immense transphobic backlash following her sponsorship announcement. (Getty)

Calls for a boycott by right-wing activists began in April after transgender influencer Dylan Mulvaney announced a sponsorship with Bud Light in celebration of the year anniversary of her TikTok series ‘Days of Girlhood’.

To mark the anniversary, she received a personalised beer can and a message of support from the company, which she shared in a clip on Instagram.

A wave of bigoted animosity swept across anti-LGBTQ+ beer drinkers in the US, causing outraged transphobes to destroy supermarket shelves containing the beer, harass those buying it and even physically attack customers.

Notable names, including musician Kid Rock, filmed themselves destroying the beer with firearms as a supposed warning to Anheuser-Busch.

The momentum from the boycott even contributed to similar calls against companies such as Target for its pro-LGBTQ+ Pride clothing collection, which it partially removed following the fallout.

During the height of the controversy, Anheuser-Busch CEO Brendan Whitworth’s response, in which he said the company never intended to be part of a discussion that “divides people,” prompted a similar wave of backlash by pro-LGBTQ+ activists who accused Bud Light of abandoning Mulvaney.

LGBTQ+ bars across the US stopped selling the beer in protest of Anheuser-Busch’s decision to drop the sponsorship with Mulvaney.

In the space of a few months, Bud Light had collectively alienated both sides of the controversy.

Beyond its approach to the backlash, however, Anheuser-Busch is also routinely criticised for its support for Republicans in the US, which has been waging a legislative war on trans people.

Data from the nonpartisan research group Open Secrets suggests that company affiliates donated a collective $1,780,102 to the Republican party in 2022, representing at least 60 per cent of its affiliate donations.

Comparatively, its affiliates donated $488,091 to Democrats in the same year, around 16 per cent of its total $2,953,887 donations.

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