Bud Light Controversy Forces Closure of Glass Bottling Plants, Leaving 600 Employees Jobless

In the wake of a controversial promotion involving transgender influencer Dylan Mulvaney and Bud Light, two glass bottling plants are being forced to shut down, resulting in the unfortunate layoff of over 600 employees. As Bud Light grapples with significant financial losses and declining sales, the Ardagh Group, a global glass producer contracted with Anheuser-Busch InBev (NYSE: BUD), announced the closure of its North Carolina and Louisiana plants in July, as reported by WRAL.

The exact reason for the plants’ closure was not disclosed by the bottling company, but an investigation by WRAL suggests that the decline in Bud Light sales was the primary cause. The nationwide boycotts and backlash surrounding the controversial Bud Light partnership, which celebrated Mulvaney’s “365 Days of Girlhood,” have had a widespread impact on retailers, distributors, bars, and contracted companies associated with the brand.

Employees at both bottling plants had observed a decrease in production following Mulvaney’s social media announcement of the collaboration in April, according to WRAL. A machine repair mechanic revealed that reduced demand had forced the Louisiana and North Carolina plants to take some machines offline, which he attributed to “the Bud Light situation.”

An internal memo from the Ardagh Group obtained by WRAL stated that the two plants would be closed “due to slow sales with Anheuser-InBev.” Longtime employees expressed minimal surprise at the decision, considering that a significant portion of their business at these plants involved producing bottles for Budweiser and Bud Light.

In confirmation of the connection between the Bud Light boycott and the plant closures, employees at the Wilson, South Carolina plant shared that their manager had attributed the shutdown to the Bud Light controversy.

David Williams, a machine repair mechanic, stated, “Because of Budweiser no longer selling the bottle, they no longer needed our product,” in an interview with WRAL.

Since gifting Mulvaney a special can to commemorate a year of “girlhood,” Bud Light sales have slumped. The subsequent video featuring Mulvaney in a bathtub drinking Bud Light sparked online outrage and nationwide boycotts, resulting in a sustained decline in sales that has yet to recover.

The brand has taken various measures to address the backlash, including substantial beer discounts and consumer rebates that practically make Bud Light “free” in certain markets.

Anheuser-Busch also recently confirmed the departure of its top two marketing executives who were chiefly behind its recent controversial ad: Daniel Blake, the Group Vice President for Marketing, and Alissa Heinerscheid, the Vice President of Bud Light Marketing. Heinerscheid is considered the driving force behind the brand’s swift transition to socially conscious advertising, expressing her disapproval of the beer’s conventional customers and describing them as “fratty” and out of touch in a podcast guesting prior to the ad.

Furthermore, Bud Light has supported its distributors, increased marketing efforts, launched a new summer ad campaign, and dispatched CEO Brendan Whitworth for a guest appearance on “CBS Mornings” to clarify the infamous debacle. However, despite their best efforts, the negative sentiment towards Bud Light continues, as sales of the beer continue to slide.

According to NielsenIQ data provided to Fox Business by Bump Williams Consulting, Bud Light sales for the week ending June 3 were down by 24.4% compared to the previous year. In a recent development, Modelo Especial surpassed Bud Light as the top-selling beer brand in terms of dollars for both the four-week and single-week periods ending June 3.

Mulvaney, in response to the controversy surrounding Bud Light, has criticized the company for prompting more bullying and transphobia than anticipated. The influencer highlighted the lack of support from Bud Light while dealing with transphobic attacks.

Information for this story was found via New York Post and the sources and companies mentioned. The author has no securities or affiliations related to the organizations discussed. Not a recommendation to buy or sell. Always do additional research and consult a professional before purchasing a security. The author holds no licenses.

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