Bud Light’s CEO is panicking over this shocking trend in the beer industry

May 7, 2024

The landscape of the beer industry was shaken up after Bud Light’s woke disaster.

Now the shifting beer preferences of the public spell bad news for the embattled brand.

And Bud Light’s CEO is panicking over this shocking trend in the beer industry.

Non-alcoholic beer sales are surging

Bud Light made one of the worst mistakes in marketing history after the brand partnered with transgender social media influencer Dylan Mulvaney.

That sparked a boycott against the beer that cost parent company Anheuser-Busch more than one billion dollars in revenue for 2023.

Bud Light is still feeling the backlash from going woke as sales still haven’t recovered from the incident.

The brand’s hopes to recover lost sales from the Mulvaney boycott are being complicated by a new trend in beer.

Alcohol-free beer has been surging in popularity over the last couple of years.

“Alcohol-free beer has been one of the hottest growth trends in the industry the past three to five years,” beer-industry expert Bump Williams, of Bump Williams Consulting, told Fox News Digital.

Sales of alcohol-free beer jumped by 34.5% in 2023 compared to the end of 2022 according to data from NielsenIQ.

It’s no longer just major brewing companies that produce it, the trend has taken off with craft brewers too.

Athletic Brewing Co., a craft brewery launched in 2017, produces alcohol-free beer exclusively.

It’s become one of the leaders of this booming segment of the beer market.

While alcohol-free beer sales are growing, sales of traditional beer are in decline, down by two percent over the past year.

Why the alcohol-free beer trend is gaining steam across the country

Alcohol-free beer brands of the past were known for their terrible watered-down beer taste.

“They were awful,” Williams said. 

The new generation’s taste mimics beer more closely and now comes in popular styles like IPAs, stouts, and Belgian-style wheats.

Women have been one of the drivers of the alcohol-free beer trend as more beer drinkers search for healthier options. 

“It’s a known fact that women are driving the dollars into the alcohol-free category,” beer-industry expert Meagen Anderson told Fox News Digital. “The trend toward moderation has made women more conscious of the alcohol they put in their body and their interest in the category is driving the innovation.”

Athletic Brewing co-founder Bill Shufelt told CNBC in an interview that he started the brewery because nothing on the market was satisfying the demand for it. 

“Every night, I’d be out to work dinners with friends, family, weddings, bachelor parties, barbecues — everything was a drinking occasion, essentially,” Shufelt said. “There were no options or offerings to more moderate options. I’d be up at 5 a.m. to work out to start the next day. The market just wasn’t keeping up with my busy, modern lifestyle.”

Most troubling for Bud Light, there’s been a decline in beer consumption by Generation Z.

“Younger consumers just aren’t crazy about alcohol,” said Williams. “When they go to a restaurant or tavern, they want to have a good time. But they don’t want to drink just club soda. So they’re drinking non-alcoholic beer.”

Generation Z drinks about 20% less alcohol than Millennials.

Bud Light has an entirely new problem on its hands as it looks to rebound from the backlash for going woke.

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