Brewing company Anheuser-Busch announced it will lay off hundreds of employees in the United States amid a conservative boycott over its brand Bud Light that has sent sales plummeting.
“While we never take these decisions lightly, we want to ensure that our organization continues to be set for future long-term success,” Anheuser-Busch chief executive Brendan Whitworth said in a statement. “These corporate structure changes will enable our teams to focus on what we do best—brewing great beer for everyone.”
The move will affect less than 2 percent of the company’s workforce of 18,000 and will not impact warehouse or brewery employees. Around 350 positions, many of them corporate, will be cut.
Anheuser-Busch’s troubles began in April, when Bud Light’s partnership with transgender influencer Dylan Mulvaney became public. Mulvaney revealed the collaboration on social media on April 1, showing a Bud Light can featuring the influencer’s face. Mulvaney also posted a video drinking Bud Light in a bathtub.
Conservatives quickly launched a boycott of the brand over the partnership, and in the week ending on July 15, Bud Light sales were down 13.9 percent and the brand’s volume, meaning the units of beer sold, was down 18 percent, Newsweek reported.
Bud Light has since lost its position as America’s top-selling beer. It was the second-best-selling beer in the four weeks leading up to June 3, making up 7.3 percent of U.S. retail-store beer purchases. Modelo took first place with 8.4 percent of sales, the Wall Street Journal reported.
Other brands made by Anheuser-Busch have also taken a hit. Sales of Michelob Ultra fell by 4.3 percent in the week that ended July 1 compared with last year, and Busch Light was down 8.5 percent, the New York Post reported.
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