After more than two decades at the top as the best-selling beer in the United States, Bud Light has been surpassed by Modelo Especial, a Mexican lager. According to data analyzed by Bump Williams Consulting based on Nielsen, Modelo Especial has managed to capture 8.4% of US retail sales of groceries, convenience stores and liquor stores, while Bud Light has fallen to 7.3%. This change marks a significant milestone in the brewing industry, as .
The causes behind the decline of Bud Light
The decline of Bud Light has accelerated in recent months, especially since early April. This is partly due to the controversy generated when the brand sent a commemorative tin to transgender influencer Dylan Mulvaney, which sparked criticism and a boycott from some consumers. In addition, Mulvaney's followers expressed their discontent arguing that Bud Light did not provide enough support to the influencer. These events triggered a series of negative consequences for the brand, which has led to declining sales and the loss of its position as the best-selling beer in the United States.
Despite this drop, Dave William, vice president of analysis and information at Bump Williams, said Bud Light still has a chance to retain its title this year, as its year-to-date market share of 9%, It is still higher than that of Modelo, which is 8%. Also, Bud Light sales continue to be higher in terms of volume.
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Modelo Especial's growth and competitive advantages
As Bud Light struggles, Modelo Especial has been able to take advantage of this opportunity to increase its market share. Modelo has experienced steady growth, with dollar sales increasing at double-digit rates every week. In addition, the launch of Modelo Oro, a new light beer, in May has further contributed to the visibility and recognition of the brand.
The Mexican brand has been able to take advantage of the setbacks of its competitors. Photo: Mario Tama.
Although bar and restaurant sales are not included in the retail data, Modelo is believed to have achieved significant growth in these establishments as well. David Steinman, vice president and executive editor of Beer Marketer’s Insights, mentions that Modelo sales in bars and restaurants have been growing rapidly, indicating a possible further decline for Bud Light in these sectors.
In response to this market shift, Constellation Brands, the company licensed to sell Modelo in the United States, has significantly increased its marketing spending over the past five years and sees great growth potential in the country. For its part, Bud Light, owned by Anheuser-Busch InBev, plans to triple its marketing spending this summer, focusing on sporting events and music festivals, and continues to be a prominent sponsor of LGBTQ+ pride events.
Although Bud Light still maintains its position as the number one brand in terms of volume and dollar sales nationwide, Modelo Especial has managed to become the leading beer in the United States, challenging Bud Light's dominance and marking a new chapter in the country's beer industry.