Anheuser-Busch InBev (AB InBev) beat net income expectations for its second quarter but fell short on revenue as the boycott of its largest brand, Bud Light, has continued to impact volumes.
The world’s largest brewer and owner of brands including Bud Light, Budweiser, Michelob ULTRA, and Stella Artios, reported second-quarter revenue up 7.2% to $15.12 billion and net income down 1.1% to $1.45 billion, compared to the same year-ago period.
In the U.S., revenues declined 10.5% amid the Bud Light boycott that began following backlash over a marketing campaign featuring Dylan Mulvaney, who is transgender and rose to fame on TikTok. It worsened when Alissa Gordon Heinerscheid, Bud Light vice president of marketing, said in an interview that the brand was shifting its focus away from its “fratty” roots to promote inclusivity.
In May, AB InBev CEO Michel Doukeris addressed the issue in the company’s Q1 earnings call, saying that the situation “was the result of one camp. It was not made for production or sales to [the] general public. It was one post, not a formal campaign or advertisement.”
Actively engaged with consumers
In the brewer's Aug. 3 earnings call, Doukeris said the company has actively engaged with consumers since April, which has resulted in some insights. “First, most consumers surveyed are favorable toward the Bud Light brand and approximately 80% are favorable or neutral.”
Consumer feedback shows three things in common, Doukeris said. “One, they want to enjoy their beer without a debate. Two, they want Bud Light to focus on beer. Three, they want Bud Light to concentrate on the platforms that all consumers love, such as NFL, Folds of Honor and music,” he said.
In its latest earnings report, AB InBev said the beer industry continued to show resilience in the second quarter. It cited statistics from market research firm Circana, which showed that revenue grew of 2.3% and volumes declined by 2.5%. The brewer said its total beer industry share declined this quarter but had been stable since the last week of April through the end of June.
Joey Solitro is a freelance financial journalist at Kiplinger with more than a decade of experience. A longtime equity analyst, Joey has covered a range of industries for media outlets including The Motley Fool, Seeking Alpha, Market Realist, and TipRanks. Joey holds a bachelor's degree in business administration.
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