A glass bottling company has reportedly laid off over 600 employees in the wake of the fallout over Bud Light’s partnership with transgender TikTok influencer Dylan Mulvaney.
As Breitbart News reported, Bud Light has been a floundering brand since it partnered with Mulvaney and has been replaced by Modelo as America’s number-one beer. Anson Frericks, who previously served as president of sales and distribution at Anheuser-Busch, said that some corporations need to have a better understanding of their audience.
“Anheuser-Busch has lost sight of who its customer is. A brand like Bud Light is a brand that has never been political, but now they’re being shunned by customers on the right, who see this partnership as a very politicized position they’ve taken, and also customers on the left who don’t feel supported amid the backlash,” he told CNBC.
Now it seems that the Bud Light controversy has now spread out to affect other companies that the brand worked with. According to WRAL, The Ardagh Group, the glass bottling company that includes Anheuser-Busch as a partner, has laid off roughly 645 employees.
New documents obtained by WRAL News show a drop in Bud Light sales forced a glass plant in Wilson to cut down bottle production starting in May.
With Bud Light’s huge drop in sales, last week, the plant’s owner, the Ardagh group, announced it would be shutting down the factory in Mid-July, laying off close to 400 employees.
In a statement last Thursday, the company told the Ruston leader in Lousiana that the Wilson plant is closing, along with the Ruston plant, which employs 245 people. The statement doesn’t identify a specific reason for the closures, only calling them part of a “Multi-year Performance Optimization Program.”
James Munhall, Journeyman Machine Repair Mechanic, said that a “couple of machines” have been down since April, which stemmed from “the Bud Light situation.”
A memo from the Wilson plant manager in mid-May said that “slow sales with Anheuser Inbev” would cause two of the factory’s production lines to shut down. Employees at the plant said that they primarily worked with Budweiser and Bud Light. Industry data shows that Bud Light sales fell 24 percent in May just after the backlash hit over the Dylan Mulvaney partnership.
“Because of Budweiser no longer selling the bottles, they no longer needed our product,” said David Williams, Machine Repair Mechanic.
Another employee said they believe the industry itself had a shift and did not necessarily blame the Bud Light controversy.
Just this week, Anheuser-Busch CEO Brendan Whitworth refused to say if his company would partner with Dylan Mulvaney again now that the backlash has settled. Whitworth told CBS Mornings:
It’s been a challenging few weeks. I think the conversation surrounding Bud Light has moved away from beer, and the conversation has become divisive. And Bud Light really doesn’t belong there. Bud Light should be all about bringing people together. And there’s an impact on the business, and I think that’s publicly covered on Bud Light specifically.
When co-host Gayle King asked what the company intended to do, he dismissed the controversy as just being “one can.”
“We have to understand the impact that it’s had … it’s the impact on our employees, the impact on our consumers, and as well the impact on our partners,” he said. “One thing I’d love to make extremely clear is that impact is my responsibility and as the CEO, everything we do here I’m accountable for.”
Asked if the company would partner with Mulvaney again, he did not give a straight answer.
“There’s a big social conversation taking place right now, and big brands are right in the middle of it and it’s not just our industry or Bud Light. It’s happening in retail, happening in fast food. And so for us what we need to understand is — deeply understand and appreciate — is the consumer and what they want, what they care about and what they expect from big brands,” Whitworth said.
.@AnheuserBusch CEO Brendan Whitworth says his company has begun sending financial assistance wholesalers, who he says have been impacted by the recent controversy surrounding a Bud Light promotion with Dylan Mulvaney. pic.twitter.com/fpEzyBWuFW
— CBS Mornings (@CBSMornings) June 28, 2023
In response, Mulvaney accused the company of enabling “transphobia” by not supporting him enough.
“For a company to hire a trans person and then not publicly stand by them is worse in my opinion than not hiring a trans person at all, because it gives customers permission to be as transphobic and hateful as they want,” Mulvaney said, adding that it will have “serious and grave consequences” for the LGBTQ community.
Paul Roland Bois joined Breitbart News in 2021. He also directed the award-winning feature film, EXEMPLUM, which can be viewed on Tubi, Google Play, YouTube Movies, or Vimeo on Demand. Follow him on Twitter @prolandfilms or Instagram @prolandfilms.
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