May 3, 2023 | 1:48 p.m
Beer giant Anheuser-Busch is trying to salvage its relationship with Bud Light distributors that faced angry customers after the brand partnered with social media influencer Dylan Mulvaney.
The brewer ignited a firestorm last month when it celebrated Mulvaney’s “365 Days of Girlhood” with custom-made Mulvaney cans featuring the influencer’s face.
Since then, Bud Light in-store sales fell 26% during the week ending April 22, the St. Louis Post-Dispatch writes.
The beer giant has also seen its market capitalization drop by $5 billion in recent weeks.
The Wall Street Journal reports that, in order to combat these losses and tarnish its reputation with customers, the nation’s largest brewing company is trying to “make amends” with the wholesale distributors that suffered from the controversial partnership.
The company is said to be planning to spend more money marketing the Bud Light with new ad campaigns and will send each Bulk distributor employee a free case of Bud Light.
Anheuser-Busch is also trying to defuse some of the backlash wholesalers have faced by giving them a letter to show retailers addressing misconceptions about the Mulvaney partnership.
The letter stated, “This cannot be an official campaign or advertisement.” “The new Vice President of Bud Light and all of us at Anheuser-Busch commit to reminding all of our customers why they love Bud Light and why they made it the #1 beer in America.”
Mulvaney cans were sent to the influencer just to promote them on social media but they were never available for sale.
Wholesalers told WSJ that customers mistakenly thought they were on the shelves or that Mulvaney had appeared in a television commercial promoting the product.
Del Papa, a beer distribution company from Houston, Texas, said its employees had received “tons of phone calls from absolutely unsavory people.”
In a Facebook post, the company said it too was “dismayed by the situation” and had taken it up “with senior leadership” at Anheuser-Busch.
Another distributor complained that the company made a reckless marketing decision.
“They didn’t need to take that risk,” the distributor told the Wall Street Journal, fearing that the backlash could go both ways. “I lost my cowboy bars and now I can lose my gay bars too.”
Fox News Digital has reached out to Anheuser-Busch for comment.
Before the Mulvaney backlash, Bud Light’s vice president of marketing revealed that the beer brand was trying to revamp its image to attract a younger clientele.
“We had this hangover, I mean, Bud Light was kind of awful, kind of off-putting humor, and it was really important that we had another approach,” Alyssa Heinsreid said in a March podcast.
Fox News Digital previously reported that the chief marketing officer went on leave after the backlash over the awake marketing campaign.
The decline in Bud Light sales continues to accelerate according to a Post-Dispatch report, which said that the Bud Light company shed 21% of its sales in the previous week and 11% in the week before.
According to the newspaper, total sales fell by 8% for the year.
Fox News’ Brian Flood contributed to this report.