Bud Light Saga: Pretty soon, they’re just going to let beer cans choose any gender they want!

A new Bud Light can featuring the likeness of transgender actor and TikTok personality Dylan Mulvaney caused an (anecdotal, alleged, and possibly invented) sales slump for the light beer in certain unnamed Midwestern markets over the Easter weekend. So a crowd of intelligent, unbiased capital markets analysts and journalists have rolled up their sleeves, adjusted their Hugo Boss brand glasses and got to the good, hard, honest financial analysis work that helped them climb all the way into middle management.

The ringleaders of the “boycott” that brought on this (dubious) sales slump are the usual podcast-and-youtube conservatives whose trade involves perpetual owning of the libs, and Kid Rock, who made the whole thing official by conducting the traditional execution of the boycotted product with a high-powered firearm.

An irrelevant, attention-thirsty, manufactured celebrityshown here shooting at a Bud Light can with Dylan Mulvaney on it.

This column has never heard of Dylan Mulvaney, wouldn’t recognize her on a Bud Light can or anywhere else, and suggests that Bud Light drinkers who have to answer their childrens’ questions about who this person on the can is simply tell the truth: “I have no idea, son.”

It is our instinct that, at the softball games and cookouts of America, this packaging change went mostly unnoticed, but it’s a hot topic among the Zero Hedge faithful, and trash, conjecture-heavy financial media is part of our beat, so let’s a take a look.

The Stories in the News

The only source that this action has hurt Bud Light’s sales comes second hand, through this Seeking Alpha article, from Beer Business Daily, to which we have no intention of paying an $890 / year subscription fee, just to fact check. Seeking Alpha‘s news desk took this information to Truist Financial (NYSE: TFC) Director of Equity Research Michael Roxland, who went out of his way to say that he isn’t trying to grind a political axe, and floated the notion that it could be terrible news for Ball Corporation (NYSE: BLL), the company that supplies Anheuser-Busch InBev (NYSE: BUD) with cans.

We won’t know the actual sales figures until AB publishes them in a quarterly or annual report, but stocks move forward in time, not backward, so Roxland might deserve credit for trying to sniff out whether or not this spectacle of consumer sentiment could affect AB InBev or Ball to an extent that’s worth trading on.

Of course the army waging this culture war would very much like for us to believe that it can, as an assertion of their own cultural relevance. Being able to push around America’s largest beer brand, and the world’s largest brewer, would make these people somebodies, instead of loud, desperate nobodies. Their cheerleaders at The New York Post are on the kind of early victory lap that one might expect from losers who count on the innumeracy of their audience, proclaiming in a headline that “Anheuser-Bush has lost more than $5 billion in value amid Dylan Mulvaney Bud Light controversy,” which it has, or rather had on Tuesday, because that’s what a stock with a $115 billion market cap falling 3% or so means.

The bollinger bands on BUD are showing a 14.25% width, which means that, when you feed the most recent 20 days’ price action to the algorithm, it determines that the stock can be expected to move up to 7.1% either way on any given day. Or, to put that in terms that the average New York Post / Zero Hedge reader might be able to understand: “lose or gain eight billion dollars in value.”

The beginning and end of this story, for anyone who can count, is the fact that Anheuser-Busch is the largest beer company in America by volume and market cap, and it isn’t even close. It sells the most beer, the most light beer, and the most kinds of light beer, indicating that the people in charge of it have a great deal more insight into their market than the halfwits who are taking them on in this desperate grasp at relevance.

Even if we believe for the sake of this exercise that a significant portion of Bud Light drinkers would have outward political passion about anything that doesn’t involve their hometown’s traffic, and care about a beer can enough to get on the march behind Kid Rock and (AHEM!) transition to a different brand; it isn’t like they have anywhere to go.

Bud Light’s nearest competitor, Coors Light, has been affirming its support for LGBT causes in the same rainbow washing exercise as Bud Light and most major consumer brands for quite some time now, in what we can only assume is a successful attempt to appeal to the non-bigoted majority, and sell more beer. Our research indicates that Coors Light parent co. Molson-Coors (NYSE: TAP) also gets its cans from Ball Corp, so the notion of a knock on effect is just as misguided, and it’s curious that the director of equities at a $44 billion bank didn’t work that out before floating it in the press… but the way Roxland handles his brand is beyond our scope.

Mass Appeal

Treating this as a matter of business or finance would be as much of a mistake as taking anyone in finance who takes it seriously seriously. But as a matter of politics, it’s a lot more interesting.

In politics, where there are only two brands, part of the reason the electoral map looks like this…

and the population map looks like this…

…is that, to the vast majority of people outside the fringes – average, American people, who just want to go about their normal lives, and would rather drink a Bud Light than something weird – the sinister trans agenda threatening our youth is obnoxious noise made up by weirdos who can shut up any time.

Donald Trump’s longshot 2016 win showed right wing strategists that appealing to fringe cranks was a strategy that could win in the heartland districts that are over-weighted in the electoral collage, and his subsequent defeat in the 2020 re-election bid didn’t do much to change their mind.

So the Republicans trotted out this weird notion that they’re the only ones who can keep Democrats from chopping your kid’s dick off, and got pretty much nowhere in the 2022 midterms, because nobody actually believes that, and the more off-brand conservative cranks harp on it, the more they risk material portions of the audience ignoring them to keep from having their intelligence insulted.

To some extent, Trump is the AB InBev of American politics. He has so much size and momentum that nothing else matters; he’ll compete no matter what. Trump has a cultivated following three decades in the making, bottomless swagger, the media is obsessed with him, and nobody is under any illusion that he cares about anything he endorses at all. It changes whenever it needs to, because who cares? Nobody who voted for Trump so that he could build a wall cares that he never built it.

But the fringe candidates and politicians trying to win by appealing to the cranks aren’t Trump, and don’t have his gravity. Pattering on about child grooming and how many genders there are or ought to be as a matter of law, and making that your thing, is just too weird. Anyone trying to gain popular appeal with a fringe position, like sorting children’s sports through genital inspection, doesn’t understand the assignment, and is a pervert besides.

Alcohol on my hands
I got plans
To ditch myself and get outside

Information for this briefing was found via Edgar, StockCharts, and the sources mentioned or linked. The author has no securities or affiliations related to this organization. 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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