Anheuser-Busch Stock Downgraded After ‘Unprecedented’ Bud Light Losses

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Analysts aren’t buying Anheuser-Busch’s CEO Michel Doukeris’ glass-half full approach to the Bud Light backlash.

Quite the opposite, in fact.

Analysts at HSBC downgraded Anheuser-Busch’s stock to a hold Wednesday as fears from the month-long boycott show no signs of easing, saying investors should neither buy nor sell.

Nearly all Anheuser-Busch products saw massive sales drops last month, according to numbers released this week. AB’s stock was down another 1.9% Wednesday morning, while Bud Light sales were down nearly 22% last month.

In a note first published to CNBC, Carlos Laboy, a managing director at HSBC’s global beverage sector, said the company’s response to the outcry has been “mixed.”

“Is ABI’s leadership getting the brand culture transformation right? It’s mixed,” Laboy said. “At Ambev, we think the answer is ‘yes.’ In the US, we think it’s ‘no.’

“The way this Bud Light crisis came about a month ago, management’s response to it and the loss of unprecedented volume and brand relevance raises many questions.”

Bud Light boycott leads to fears on wall street.
It wasn’t a great Wednesday for the folks at Bud Light and Anheuser-Busch. (Photo by Drew Angerer/Getty Images)

Bud Light boycott continues to crush Anheuser-Busch

Not a great start to hump day for the folks at Dylan Mulvaney Light!

Laboy’s latest warning comes on the heels of an absolutely awful April sales report earlier this week.

According to Beer Business Daily, AB volumes were down over 12% last month, led by Mulvaney poster boy, Bud Light, which was down a staggering 21.4%.

Meanwhile, Molson Coors was up 7%, while both Miller Lite and Coors Light were in the double-digits. Yuengling was also up 14%.

While Bud Light is leading the charge, it’s not the only beer under the Anheuser-Busch umbrella taking on water.

Budweiser was down over 11% last month, while Busch and Natural were also down.

Red numbers like that, of course, lead to fears — and questions — from the folks over on Wall Street.

“Why did its US leadership underestimate the risk of pushback given the recent experience of other firms?” Laboy continued. “If Budweiser and Bud Light are iconic American ideas that have long brought consumers together, why did these marketers fail to invite new consumers without alienating the core base of the firm’s largest brand?”

Unfortunately for those “marketers,” they won’t be able to answer that question. Most have already reportedly been canned.

Is it too little, too late, though?

Written by Zach Dean

Zach grew up in Florida, lives in Florida, and will never leave Florida ... for obvious reasons. He's a reigning fantasy football league champion, knows everything there is to know about NASCAR, and once passed out (briefly!) during a lap around Daytona. He swears they were going 200 mph even though they clearly were not.


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  1. I am not a liberal, dislike woke agendas, and do not drink beer. That said it seems to me that AB stock is a buy right now. Bud light is still the #1 beer and several otherAB products are still in the top 10. The stock drop is artificial and will return. For comparison, check out when Dick’s sporting goods fell to 25 (ish) a few years ago and look at where it is now (hint 150 ish). Anyone who thinks that this outrage will last very long is dramatically overestimating the intelligence and memory of the average person.

    • Ask the next 10 people with whom you interact “what was the outrage about Dick’s Sporting Goods in 2018?” I predict that little more than 10% can even remember (as reflected by the stock being 150-ish)

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