Amid a months-long boycott of Bud Light, some experts have predicted the Anheuser-Busch-owned brand will soon lose coveted retail space as sales continue to slide.
Beer industry insiders, wholesalers and a former Anheuser-Busch executive told ABC News on Friday that places like 7-Eleven, QuikTrip and Walmart may be cutting into Bud Light fridge space in stores .
“During a busy shopping period on a Friday or Saturday night, if you don’t have the beer available cold on the shelf, consumers will choose something else,” former Anheuser-Busch InBev executive Anson Frericks, a frequent critic of his former company, told the network. He noted that shelf space is “the biggest determinant of sales in a store” and warned that there will be a “dramatic shift” for Bud Light.
Dave Williams, vice president of analytics and insights at Bump Williams Consulting, said retailers often look at sales figures to determine which brands would have the best shelf space.
“There’s explosive growth on one side and a steep decline on the other,” Williams said, according to the station. “This has this ripple effect where if Bud Light loses shelf space, that could make it a long-term effort to get back to where they were if they ever can.”
According to report from the beverage market analysis of several years ago, approximately 80 percent of beer sales occur at retailers or similar locations where consumers take the product home. The other 20 percent of sales occur in restaurants and bars.
For a month ending in early September, Bud Light sales fell about 27 percent year over year, according to Bump Williams Consulting. These figures are consistent with Bud Light’s previous weekly sales figures since the boycott erupted in early April.
The Epoch Times reached out to Anheuser-Busch InBev for comment on the report Friday.
A general manager of a Wisconsin Anheuser-Busch distributor, who was not named, told ABC that retailers Don’t expect a “drastic change” anytime soon. But he warned that the Bud Light boycott “has lasted longer than anyone thought,” adding: “Each retailer has their own view of what warrants sales on their shelves. Time will tell.”
Last month, the North American division of Anheuser-Busch revealed in its quarterly earnings report, it lost about $395 million amid the boycott and that US revenue fell about 10 percent year-over-year. Meanwhile, Bud Light lost its No. 1 spot to Modelo Especial, owned by Constellation Brands in the United States, in June.
Adding more fuel to the fire, beer industry expert Harry Schumacher of Beer Business Daily, he said Some Fox News Bud Light drinkers may never come back and have switched to other brands.
The boycott, he warned, is “actually worse than the loss of sales because now it’s getting to the point where it’s becoming systemic within the industry, and they’re losing the confidence of retailers, and that’s when it starts to get worse.” .
It all started in April when Bud Light made a beer can with the face of transgender activist Dylan Mulvaney., who then posted the promotional item on social media. Backlash was swift, with some conservative musicians and influencers calling for a boycott, accusing Bud Light of abandoning its traditional consumer base.
Musician Kid Rock was seen in a viral video shooting cans of the beer, while several country singers said they would not serve it in their bars or on tour. Former President Donald Trump also accused the firm of caving to leftists, urging supporters that “it’s time to beat the radical left at their own game.”
Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis later urged the state’s pension manager to investigate Anheuser-Busch and possibly take legal action against the company over the incident. Like President Trump, Mr. DeSantis is also a GOP presidential candidate.
Weeks later, Anheuser-Busch confirmed that two top Bud Light executives had taken a leave of absence from the company, after a Bud Light marketing executive, Alissa Heinerscheid, gave an interview saying she wanted to move the brand of an “out-of-touch” and “fratty” image. The reports have indicated which was associated with the company’s Mulvaney campaign.
On an earnings call with investors in May, Anheuser-Busch InBev CEO Michel Doukeris appeared to distance the beer brand from the transgender controversy, saying there was no “formal campaign.”
“This was the result of a can” he said during the call. “It was not made for production or sale to the general public. It was a post, not a formal campaign or announcement.”
Months later, in August, Mr. Doukeris he said to investors that Bud Light is “working hard to rebuild and win back consumers” and worked with an outside researcher to engage with about 170,000 customers in the U.S.
“The majority of consumers surveyed are favorable to the Bud Light brand, and approximately 80 percent are favorable or neutral,” the firm said.