Bud Light Dethroned As Top Selling Beer In U.S.

Bud Light/Instagram

Bud Light is no longer the best-selling beer in America.

Bud Light held the top spot for more than two decades, but was dethroned in the month of May following backlash over the brand’s partnership with transgender influencer Dylan Mulvaney earlier this year.

Mexican lager, Modelo Especial, overtook Bud Light by capturing more 8.4% of U.S. retail beer sales, nearly one full percent more than Bud Light. Overall sales of Bud Light were down 24.4%  in May, while Modelo’s sales grew 12.2%, according to data gathered by consulting firm Bump Williams. These numbers are retail sales percentages and don’t include bar and restaurant sales which are more difficult to track.


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Scott Scanlon, executive vice president for Circana, a consulting firm, said sales of Mexican imported beer like Modelo and Corona have been steadily rising since their debut on the American market more than 30 years ago.

Scanlon claims that Modelo was on target to become the top-selling beer in the U.S. prior to the Bud Light controversy. But, the controversy sped up the timeline for the company.

“Modelo was going to become the No. 1 beer brand. It was destiny because the growth numbers we are seeing and have been seeing are astonishing,” Scanlon said. “The only question was time.”

Anheuser-Busch is downplaying the shift saying that its American-made Bud Light remains the top-selling beer this year to date. Although sales also declined for other Anheuser-Busch-owned brands such as Michelob Ultra, Natural Light and Busch Light in recent weeks.


The sharp hit Bud Light is taking is due to backlash following its partnership with Dylan Mulvaney in early April. Not only did the partnership anger conservatives who fired back with a boycott, but Anheuser-Busch’s seeming lack of support for Mulvaney angered LGBTQ+ supporters.

The summer months could be a strong indicator of what the future holds for both Modelo and Bud Light as beer sales generally spike during the season.

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