Bud Light Resorts to Desperate New strategy to Keep Distributors Afloat

Bud Light’s distributors are in a tough financial spot right now, as sales of the beer have crashed following the company’s ill-fated partnership with social media influencer Dylan Mulvaney.

So, to try and keep them alive as the boycott of Bud Light continues with no real end in sight, and even worsens with the left now getting mad at the company for trying to back away from its relationship with Mulvaney, Bud Light is now resorting to the desperate step of buying back unsold and expired beer from its distributors.

Such is what the Wall Street Journal reported in its recent report on Bud Light’s painful financial situation and the utter disaster of its Mulvaney experiment, saying:

The company now plans for the first time to include Bud Light in the brewer’s long-running sponsorship of a veterans organization, wholesalers said. Bud Light is also leaning back into television commercials on themes like football and country music. The brewer recently told its wholesalers that it would buy back unsold cases of beer that have gone past their expiration date.

The WSJ also hinted that Bud Light might not have made the Mulvaney decision had it taken the advice of its distributors and moved its US headquarters out of New York and closer to distributors, who could have told it that that was a terrible idea for a beer that mainly appears to working-class Americans. Reporting on the “out of touch” factor, the WSJ said:

Anheuser-Busch works with 385 independent distributors, or wholesalers, across the country. Many of them are family-owned businesses that have carried Anheuser-Busch products for generations. The move of the company’s sales and marketing hub from St. Louis to New York in 2015, several years after Anheuser-Busch was acquired by global giant InBev, has been a point of contention. Some wholesalers have pushed the brewer to move those marketers back to St. Louis, arguing that executives in New York are out of touch with the drinkers of the company’s flagship brands. Anheuser-Busch also has marketers based in St. Louis, Austin, Miami and Los Angeles.

And this new step of buying back unsold cases of beer isn’t even the first dramatic step Bud Light has had to take to save its distributors. It has also had to financially backstop them shortly after the boycott of its products ramped up in early May.

Further, it had to boost advertising spending by a large amount and promise to screen its marketing initiatives better. Such is what the New York Post reported in an article on Bud Light’s recovery plan, saying:

At a closed-door meeting this week in Washington, DC, Anheuser-Busch executives told US beer distributors they will “spend heavily on the brand after spending fell off a cliff last year,” Benj Steinman, editor of Beer Marketer’s Insights, told The Post.

Bud execs said at the Monday meeting that the fresh marketing push will begin this week, Steinman said, as the beer giant scrambles to reverse the damage from the controversial Mulvaney campaign, which sent sales of Bud Light plunging 17% during the week ended April 15.

However, Steinman told the NYP that the meeting wasn’t that productive and the distributors were hoping for more concrete plans” on how to stop the backlash against Bud Light, which apparently weren’t provided.  According to Steinman, the distributors “want to put this behind them” but haven’t received much helpful guidance on how to do so.

Further, the NYP added that Budweiser promised during a series of Zoom meetings with US beer distributors that “there will be an improved screening process before any marketing hits the public,” and that “executives will have to go through a more rigorous screening process.”

Notice: This article may contain commentary that reflects the author's opinion.

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