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  • Writer's pictureStaff @ LT&C

Modelo Especial Ousts Bud Light as America's Top-Selling Beer

In a significant shakeup in the beer industry, Modelo Especial, a Mexican lager brewed near Mexico City by Constellation Brands, has surpassed Bud Light as the top-selling beer in the United States. This overthrow marks the end of Bud Light's more than two-decade reign. The shift in leadership is further exacerbated by the challenges faced by the Anheuser-Busch brand following a controversy surrounding transgender influencer Dylan Mulvaney's Instagram post featuring a customized Bud Light can.

According to data from NIQ provided to consulting firm Bump Williams, for the four weeks ending on June 3, Modelo captured 8.4% of US retail beer sales, while Bud Light slipped into second place with 7.3%. Dollar sales for Bud Light during that period painted a grim picture, with a significant decline of 24.4%. In contrast, Modelo's sales grew by 12.2%. Experts predict that this trend is unlikely to favor Bud Light in the near future.

"Modelo Especial appears to be increasing its sales growth each week as we get deeper into summer," said Bump Williams, highlighting the brand's positive trajectory. Williams further noted that Modelo's new low-carb beer, Modelo Oro, has seen a strong start since its debut in May, further bolstering the brand's sales performance.

The preference for Mexican beers and spirits, including tequila and mezcal, has been on the rise among drinkers in recent years. Williams attributed Modelo's ascension to the top-selling position (at least for May) to several factors, including robust retailer support, effective advertising, appealing packaging, and the "springboard effect" from Cinco de Mayo festivities leading into the summer season.

Greg Gallagher, the vice president of brand marketing for Constellation based in New York, expressed the brand's satisfaction with Modelo's success, stating that it has been enjoying an incredible run for several years. He emphasized the brand's desire to replicate its dominance among Hispanic consumers with a broader demographic. Gallagher added, "Our growth is in maintaining that core but also bringing in non-Hispanic customers, and we're having incredible success."

While there is a glimmer of hope for Anheuser-Busch (BUD) (whose parent company is based in Belgium) as Bud Light remains the top-selling beer on a year-to-date basis, sales for other beers in the Bud Light family, such as Michelob Ultra, Natural Light, and Busch Light, have also experienced declines compared to previous weeks.

Over the past few weeks, Bud Light has witnessed weekly sales declines of around 25%, likely attributed to negative coverage from right-wing media following its partnership with Mulvaney and the brand's lukewarm response to the ensuing controversy, which drew criticism from LGBTQ+ advocates. Although the controversy centered around a single social media post featuring Mulvaney's face on a Bud Light can, conservative figures attacked the brand, and transphobic comments flooded social media platforms.


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