Brendan Whitworth, CEO for Anheuser-Busch, issued a statement Friday amid the backlash surrounding the company’s partnership with a transgender influencer.
In the statement posted to Anheuser-Busch’s website and social media channels, CEO Brendan Whitworth offered an apology of sorts as he addressed the “discussion that divides people.” Accountability, the company’s history and heritage, and bringing people togethere were mentioned in the letter. But, he failed to address the controversy directly.
“As the CEO of a company founded in America’s heartland more than 165 years ago, I am responsible for ensuring every consumer feels proud of the beer we brew,” Whitworth wrote. “We never intended to be part of a discussion that divides people. We are in the business of bringing people together over a beer.”
The beer executive added that he is focused on protecting and building Anheuser-Busch’s heritage. He vows to continue to bring “great beers to consumers.”
Anheuser-Busch’s partnership with transgender influencer Dylan Mulvaney has sparked a boycott of Bud Light. The company enlisted Mulvaney, who has a substantial following on Instagram, to promote their March Madness contest.
On April 1, 2023, Mulvaney posted a video announcing the collaboration, in which she sipped a Bud Light and showcased a special can featuring her face. Mulvaney expressed her gratitude for the gift and revealed that it coincided with the celebration of her one-year anniversary of transitioning. In another post, Mulvaney was seen sipping Bud Light while in a bathtub, on hold with customer service, in a nod to the brand’s 2023 Super Bowl ad.
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Bud Light is facing a boycott led by Kid Rock, which has gained significant traction online. The musician posted a video on April 3 in which he addressed his followers and proceeded to shoot several cases of Bud Light stacked on a table. Kid Rock concluded the video with a profanity-laden message directed at Bud Light and its parent company, Anheuser-Busch. The online protest has since taken off, with many social media users expressing their support for the boycott. STRONG LANGUAGE WARNING!
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In a series of posts, Tritt stated that he was no longer supporting the beer company and was removing all of their products from his tour’s hospitality rider. Rich wrote that he was replacing Bud Light products at his Nashville bar, Redneck Riviera.
Other artists who are deleting Anheuser-Busch products from their hospitality rider might not say so in public for fear of being ridiculed and cancelled. I have no such fear. https://t.co/YgjO9P03tR
— Travis Tritt (@Travistritt) April 6, 2023
— John Rich🇺🇸 (@johnrich) April 5, 2023
Instead of tossing #Budlight out of my bar @rnrbarnash when the story broke, I gave it a week to let my customers decide. Well, they spoke. Bud Light went from our #1 selling beer to flatlining in sales. My current inventory of Bud will be skunk before it’s depleted. Case closed.
— John Rich🇺🇸 (@johnrich) April 12, 2023
Nearly two weeks after Bud Light’s partnership with Dylan Mulvaney went public, the New York Post reported that the company’s stock plummeted.
Anheuser-Busch, the parent company of Bud Light, has experienced a significant drop in shares since March 31, resulting in a loss of nearly 4% of its value. This decline has caused the company’s market capitalization to drop from $132.38 billion to $127.13 billion as of Wednesday. On the same day, Anheuser-Busch stock declined by over 1.5%.
Not only did the fallout cause the company a significant financial hit, but some appearances by the famous Budweiser Clydesdale horses were canceled due to the staff fearing for their safety.