Bud Light Sales Plummet 17% Amid Ongoing Dylan Mulvaney Controversy as Company Struggles to Rebuild Image

Bud Light sales plummeted 21 percent in volume and 17 percent in dollars for the week ending April 15.

Bud Light sales have gone from bad to worse, with the brand's dollar share for the latest week losing almost the same amount as competitors like Miller Lite and Coors Light gained as the beer brand's controversial marketing campaign with transgender influencer Dylan Mulvaney controversy continues to make headlines.

Latest data shows Bud Light sales plummeted a staggering 17 percent, according to an industry research firm. Bud Light has been facing backlash ever since it launched the controversial partnership deal with Mulvaney. The brand's parent company Anheuser-Busch has since struggled to protect the company's image and sales, despite placing two top executives on leave.

Bud Loses the Fizz

Dylan Mulvaney
Dylan Mulvaney's face seen on the new Bud Light can Twitter

According to the most recent sales data from NielsenIQ and Bump Williams Consulting, Bud Light sales plummeted 21 percent in volume and 17 percent in dollars for the week ending April 15.

That is sharply ahead of the 6 percent decline in dollars sales and 11 percent decline in volume that Bud Light had experienced during the week ending April 8 — the seven days that immediately followed after the controversial Mulvaney campaign was launched on social media on April 1.

Dylan Mulvaney
Dylan Mulvaney in the Bud Light commercial Twitter

At the same time, data compiled for the week show dollar share of Coors Light and Miller Lite jumped 3.5 percent and 3.1 percent, respectively, indicating that consumer backlash rather than a decline in beer demand was the cause of Bud Light's dollar share losses.

Coors Light cases increased by 10.6 percent at that time, while Miller Lite cases increased by 11.5 percent.

"These numbers are staggering," according to an April 23 report from Insights Express, a beer-focused newsletter. "Right now this is an extremely difficult scenario for Anheuser Busch, the Bud Light brand and for AB distributors."

"Coors Light and Miller Lite were once again big beneficiaries," according to Insights Express.

No Respite for Bud

Anheuser-Busch has received a torrent of negative publicity as a result of the Mulvaney campaign. On Friday and over the weekend, the company revealed that Alissa Heinerscheid and Daniel Blake, the marketing executives behind the hiring of Mulvaney, are taking leaves of absence.

Alissa Gordon Heinerscheid
Alissa Gordon Heinerscheid Twitter

Blake, who oversees marketing for Anheuser-Busch's mainstream brands, stepped away from the job on Sunday, according to the WSJ. "Given the circumstances, Alissa has decided to take a leave of absence, which we support," an Anheuser-Busch spokeswoman told the Journal. "Daniel has also decided to take a leave of absence."

People familiar with the matter told the Journal that the choice to take leave was not voluntary.

Blake's successor has not yet been made public, but Bud Light said on Friday that Todd Allen, a former global vice president of Budweiser, would take over Heinerscheid's role.

Daniel Blake
Daniel Blake LinkedIn

Distributors of Anheuser-Busch will be meeting with the company on Tuesday in Washington, DC.

According to Insights Express, the distributors " are looking for a much more pointed and well-developed plan on how Anheuser-Busch might stem the onslaught of negative attention and sales trends," some of which have canceled marketing events starring the famous Budweiser Clydesdale horses.

The Mulvany flap has tarnished the image of Bud Light, which was once the largest and most popular beer brand in the United States.

Bud Light
Bud Light Twitter

According to Brewbound, a trade newsletter that used data from BeerBoard, it was the undisputed leader of all light beers at bars and other locations during the NCAA basketball tournament from March 18 to April 1, up 15 percent.

However, following the launch of the Mulvaney campaign, bars and restaurants saw a 6 percent decline in demand for Bud Light compared to competing light beers.

The volume of Bud Light declined 34.7 percent across all bars, restaurants, and other establishments between April 2 and April 15. During the second week of the dispute, Bud Light slipped to No. 4 from No. 3, switching places with Coors Light, according to Brewbound's report on Monday.