NEW YORK CITY: Anheuser-Busch, the maker of Bud Light, confirmed this week is laying off hundreds of positions across its US corporate staff.
In a statement to The Associated Press, the beer maker said the layoffs will impact less than 2 percent of its workforce. Anheuser-Busch’s website says the company employs 19,000 employees nationwide. Warehouse staff, drivers and other frontline employees will not be affected, the company said.
The job cuts arrive during a rocky time for Anheuser-Busch, which has seen a monthslong sales decline for Bud Light since April when conservative critics vowed to boycott the brand after the brewer sent a commemorative can to transgender influencer Dylan Mulvaney. Bud Light has also faced backlash from Mulvaney’s supporters and LGBTQ+ rights groups, who say the brand did not do enough to support her.
Mulvaney later shared that she felt abandoned by Bud Light, and faced “more bullying and transphobia than I could have ever imagined” over the partnership.
Bud Light is continuing to lose share in the US market to brands like Modelo Especial, which recently surpassed Bud Light in sales for the first time. In the month ending July 15, Bud Light’s US sales were down 26.5 percent, while Modelo’s were up 13.5 percent. Bud Light held a 6.8-percent share of the US beer market in that period, while Modelo held an 8.7-percent share. Grupo Modelo is also owned by Anheuser-Busch InBev.
When confirming this week’s layoffs, Anheuser-Busch cited restructuring needs and said the changes would “simplify and reduce layers” within the company’s organization.
“While we never take these decisions lightly, we want to ensure that our organization continues to be set for future long-term success,” Chief Executive Officer Brendan Whitworth said in a statement. “These corporate structure changes will enable our teams to focus on what we do best — brewing great beer for everyone and earning our place in the moments that matter.”
Anheuser-Busch did not share a timeline for the layoffs in its statement. But according to The Wall Street Journal, the restructuring has already eliminated marketing and corporate roles at major US offices, including those in New York and Los Angeles.
Since the fallout of the Mulvaney partnership, Bud Light’s name has been brought into other anti-LGBTQ+ campaigns and controversies targeting separate brands — including recent incidents at Target, where some angry customers tipped over Pride merchandise and confronted workers, as well as social media campaigns against Disney and Chick-fil-A.