CONSUMER

Bud Light, top US seller since 2001, loses sales crown to Modelo

Jun 14, 2023, 3:59 PM

A bottle of Bud Light beer is seen at a grocery store in Glenview, Ill., Tuesday, April 25, 2023. B...

A bottle of Bud Light beer is seen at a grocery store in Glenview, Ill., Tuesday, April 25, 2023. Bud Light may have fumbled its attempt to broaden its customer base by partnering with a transgender influencer. But experts say inclusive marketing is simply good business __ and it’s here to stay. (AP Photo/Nam Y. Huh)
Credit: ASSOCIATED PRESS

(AP Photo/Nam Y. Huh)

After more than two decades as America’s best-selling beer, Bud Light has slipped into second place.

Modelo Especial, a Mexican lager, overtook Bud Light in U.S. retail dollar sales in the month ending June 3, according to Nielsen data analyzed by Bump Williams Consulting. Modelo controlled 8.4% of U.S. grocery, convenience and liquor store sales; Bud Light fell to 7.3%.

It’s a milestone in Bud Light’s months-long sales decline since early April, when critics who were angered by the brewer sending a commemorative can to transgender influencer Dylan Mulvaney vowed to boycott the brand. Bud Light has also faced backlash from Mulvaney’s fans, who think the brand didn’t do enough to support her.

Dave William, Bump Williams’ vice president of analytics and insights, said Bud Light has been the top-selling U.S. beer since 2001, and it could still retain that crown this year. He noted that Bud Light’s year-to-date market share of 9% is still outpacing Modelo’s, at 8%. And Bud Light’s sales volumes are higher.

But Modelo appears to have the advantage, with its dollar sales increasing by double-digit percentages every week. The launch of a new light beer, Modelo Oro, in May is also boosting awareness of the brand.

Sales in bars and restaurants, which are harder to track, aren’t included in the retail numbers, and Bud Light far outpaced Modelo in those venues prior to April. But David Steinman, the vice president and executive editor of Beer Marketer’s Insights, said Modelo’s bar and restaurant sales have been growing quickly, and it’s believed that Bud Light took an even steeper sales hit in bars and restaurants than in groceries.

Bud Light’s U.S. retail sales were down 24% the week ending June 3, while Modelo Especial sales were up 12%, according to Dave Williams.

Bud Light exec takes leave after boycott calls, reports say

Scott Scanlon, an executive vice president at the consulting firm Circana who follows the alcohol market, said Mexican imports like Modelo and Corona have been the biggest bright spots in the otherwise stagnant U.S. beer market for years.

When Modelo first went on sale in the U.S. in the 1990s, it was primarily marketed to Hispanic drinkers, Scanlon said. It launched English-language ads in 2015 and has broadened its consumer base significantly since then. It’s especially popular among younger drinkers, who like its fuller flavor, Scanlon said.

Scanlon said Modelo is already the top seller in markets like Los Angeles and Chicago, but it could still see a lot of growth ahead on the East Coast.

“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.”

Scanlon said the pandemic accelerated Modelo’s U.S. sales, since it sees more of its sales from retail stores than from bars and restaurants. And Bud Light’s missteps further accelerated its rise.

Grupo Modelo, the Mexican brewer, is owned by Anheuser-Busch InBev, the same parent company of Bud Light. Constellation Brands, a Rochester, New York-based company, has been licensed to sell Modelo in the U.S. since 2013 as part of an agreement with antitrust regulators after InBev bought Grupo Modelo.

Constellation said Wednesday it has nearly doubled its marketing spending on Modelo over the past five years and continues to see a “runway for growth” in the U.S. But Bud Light will try to counter that.

Last month, InBev said it will triple its marketing spending in the U.S. this summer, with a focus on sports and music festivals. Bud Light also continues to be a high-profile sponsor of LGBTQ+ Pride events.

“For the year, Bud Light remains the number one brand in the U.S. nationally in volume and dollar sales,” an Anheuser-Busch spokesperson said Wednesday.

KSL 5 TV Live

Consumer

A still from "Super/Man: The Christopher Reeve Story" by Ian Bonhãte and Peter Ettedgui, an offici...

KSL TV

Sundance film ‘Super/Man: The Christopher Reeve Story’ gets U.S. theatrical release

Sundance film "Super/Man: The Christopher Reeve Story" will get a special-even theatrical release in the U.S.

2 hours ago

FILE - This combination of 2017-2022 photos shows the logos of Facebook, YouTube, TikTok and Snapch...

Matt Gephardt and Sloan Schrage

Scammers offer to help regain control of hacked social media accounts for a fee

People are advertising they can help you get back into your hacked social media accounts. It is a lie.

2 days ago

Utah Capitol where lawmakers passed a deal to possible raise a tax and quickly spend the money on d...

Lindsay Aerts

Lawmakers defend Sept. 1 contract deadline on downtown plans

The deal to raise Salt Lake City's sales tax to help house the new NHL team and revitalize downtown is moving fast and lawmakers are defending the deadline.

2 days ago

Ben Van Leeuwen scoops Kraft Mac & Cheese flavored ice cream Wednesday, May 15, 2024, in the Br...

Dee-Ann Durbin, The Associated Press

Sour Patch Kids Oreos? Peeps Pepsi? What’s behind the weird flavors popping up on store shelves

Van Leeuwen Ice Cream usually draws customers with gourmet takes on classics like vanilla and pistachio. But occasionally, the artisanal ice cream maker headquartered in New York slips in what it calls a “shock flavor,” like Hidden Valley Ranch or pizza.

4 days ago

ROHNERT PARK, CALIFORNIA - APRIL 17: In an aerial view, a sign is posted on the exterior of a Red L...

Michelle Chapman and Dee-Ann Durbin, AP Business Writers

Red Lobster seeks bankruptcy protection days after closing dozens of restaurants

Casual dining chain Red Lobster has filed for bankruptcy protection late Sunday, days after shuttering dozens of restaurants.

4 days ago

Abravanel Hall is pictured in Salt Lake City on Wednesday, May 8, 2024. Smith Entertainment Group, ...

Lindsay Aerts

Plan for updating Abravanel Hall estimated to cost hundreds of millions

Estimates for updating Abravanel Hall, home of the Utah Symphony, are estimated to cost over $200 million.

4 days ago

Sponsored Articles

Electrician repairing ceiling fan with lamps indoors...

Lighting Design

Stay cool this summer with ceiling fans

When used correctly, ceiling fans help circulate cool and warm air. They can also help you save on utilities.

Side view at diverse group of children sitting in row at school classroom and using laptops...

PC Laptops

5 Internet Safety Tips for Kids

Read these tips about internet safety for kids so that your children can use this tool for learning and discovery in positive ways.

Women hold card for scanning key card to access Photocopier Security system concept...

Les Olson

Why Printer Security Should Be Top of Mind for Your Business

Connected printers have vulnerable endpoints that are an easy target for cyber thieves. Protect your business with these tips.

Modern chandelier hanging from a white slanted ceiling with windows in the backgruond...

Lighting Design

Light Up Your Home With These Top Lighting Trends for 2024

Check out the latest lighting design trends for 2024 and tips on how you can incorporate them into your home.

Technician woman fixing hardware of desktop computer. Close up....

PC Laptops

Tips for Hassle-Free Computer Repairs

Experiencing a glitch in your computer can be frustrating, but with these tips you can have your computer repaired without the stress.

Close up of finger on keyboard button with number 11 logo...

PC Laptops

7 Reasons Why You Should Upgrade Your Laptop to Windows 11

Explore the benefits of upgrading to Windows 11 for a smoother, more secure, and feature-packed computing experience.

Bud Light, top US seller since 2001, loses sales crown to Modelo