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  • Writer's pictureMichael Amelio

Modelo Surpasses Bud Light in Sales

In a significant turn of events, Modelo Especial has officially become the top-selling beer in the United States, dethroning Bud Light, which has faced a decline in popularity due to the Dylan Mulvaney controversy.

Newly released data from NIQ reveals that sales of Modelo at grocery and beer stores have surpassed Bud Light's throughout 2023. This marks the first time that Modelo has managed to outpace Bud Light on a year-to-date basis. The competition for the top spot has been fierce, with Modelo taking the lead by capturing 8.34% of the dollars spent on beer, while Bud Light secured 8.28% through August 12.

This achievement is particularly noteworthy since Bud Light has held the title of America's best-selling beer for the majority of the past two decades.

Modelo's momentum has been especially strong during the summer months, with the Mexican lager outperforming Bud Light in monthly sales for May, June, and July. Over the past four weeks, Modelo maintained a 9.1% share of off-premise beer sales, while Bud Light slipped to a 7% share.

The shift in leadership "seemed inevitable for at least the last several months, but the timeline accelerated since Bud Light's trends dramatically worsened in April," remarked Benj Steinman, President of Beer Marketer’s Insights. "And it happened far faster than most people expected."

Despite the challenges, there has been a "material improvement" for Anheuser-Busch's (BUD) brand Bud Light, according to Beer Business Daily, a trade publication. Recent NIQ data indicates that Bud Light volumes were down 26.7% in recent weeks, which represents a slight improvement from the roughly -30% decline the brand has been facing since spring.

Other contenders in the beer market have also witnessed sales growth this year, with Molson Coors (TAP) being among them. In a recent report, the brewer behind Miller Lite and Coors Light beers revealed that it achieved its most successful revenue quarter since the merger in 2005.

The combined sales of its flagship beers in the US surpassed Bud Light by 50% in the second quarter and stood 30% higher than Modelo Especial.

The landscape of US beer sales has undergone a significant transformation following Bud Light's controversial move to send a personalized can to transgender influencer Mulvaney.

This action sparked a wave of transphobic backlash and led to the alienation of a portion of the company's core customer base. The subsequent response from the company further exacerbated tensions with members of the LGBTQ community.

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