Photos of Bud Light ads in China have been shared on social media, following the beer brand’s dramatic drop in popularity in the US.
As of April, Bud Light has been the subject of unrelenting backlash over a small brand partnership it had with transgender influencer Dylan Mulvaney. In a video posted to Instagram on April 1, Mulvaney said the beer brand had sent her a can with her face on it to commemorate 365 days of her living off her as a woman.
Mulvaney’s association with Bud Light drew condemnation and boycott calls from several conservative figures, including US Representative Dan Crenshaw, a Republican from Texas. Musicians Kid Rock, Travis Tritt, and John Rich were also among those who expressed dislike of the beer brand after the collaboration.
In recent weeks, several social media users have also shared photos and videos of unsold Bud Light on store shelves and at venues, in an attempt to illustrate the alleged success of their boycott of the beer brand.
Since the boycott calls began nearly three months ago, Bud Light has experienced a rapid decline in domestic sales. Revenues are consistently below what they were at the same time last year. The company has also lost its crown as America’s most popular beer, with Mexican rival Modelo Especial now in the top spot.
Conservative writer and podcaster Daniel Horowitz recently took to Twitter to share images of Bud Light posters. They depicted the animated faces of people looking elated while holding full glasses of beer.
Horowitz, who is a senior editor at conservative news outlet TheBlaze, captioned the pair of images: “A listener of mine who lives in China points out that he has never seen Bud Light ads in China before. The last few weeks are everywhere.”
The post received a flurry of comments from people accusing Bud Light of venturing into China due to declining sales in the US. However, others pointed out that Bud Light has has already been hugged by Chinese consumers.
In March, Reuters said that Budweiser Brewing Co APAC, Asia’s largest brewer by sales, had announced plans to expand to more cities in China with its premium products as it recovered from COVID-19 restrictions.
Sales of the beer experienced an expansion after China, in December 2022, abandoned its strict zero-COVID policy. This seriously affected the bar and restaurant business during the almost three years it was in force. Budweiser said its total volumes in China fell 3 percent last year as a result.
“(In China) this quarter, we’re really seeing strong signs of recovery in the market opening up fully,” Jan Craps, co-chairman and chief executive officer of Budweiser APAC, said after the company reported annual results, according to Reuters.
The Asia-Pacific unit of Bud Light’s parent company, Anheuser-Busch InBev, shared plans to increase the number of Chinese cities where it sells at least 1 million liters of its premium brand Budweiser. “We think that in the next 10 years there is a lot of growth potential here,” Craps said of the Chinese market.
In mid-June, a former Anheuser-Busch US employee said in an interview with Tomi Lahren that the brewer deliberately sabotaged Bud Light in an attempt to cut costs. The interview came weeks after conservative commentator Lahren said “mass layoffs” were being prepared at Bud Light as a result of the backlash.
news week has contacted Anheuser-Busch representatives by email for comment.
A range of other brands, including Target, Nike, Adidas and Barstool Sports, have also been at the center of the LGBTQ+ marketing frenzy. This comes at a time when anti-transgender sentiment appears to be growing in the United States, with bills targeting transgender people sweeping Republican state legislatures.