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Bud Light stock hangover as rival brewers thrive on downfall

Bud Light stock hangover as rival brewers thrive on downfall

The recent sales slump of Bud Light in the US, triggered by boycotts against the company from earlier this year, has sent shockwaves through the domestic beer market. 

As the once top-selling brewer continues to lose its market share, this upheaval presented a significant opportunity for other beverage makers to seize the opportunity and thrive in the shifting landscape.

One of the companies that capitalized on these altered market circumstances is Molson Coors (NYSE: TAP), a Canadian-US multinational beverage company. 

Notably, the Chicago, Illinois-based brewer posted record quarterly sales and raised its full-year guidance in the wake of the Bud Light fiasco. In fact, the Q2 report marked the best quarterly sales performance since Canada’s Molson merged with US-based Coors in 2005. 

In addition, it was also the first time the company recorded sales volume growth in its home market in around a year. 

Molson Coors net sales rose 11.8% in Q2

The August 1 report revealed an 11.8% surge in net sales for Molson Coors in Q2, alongside a 5% increase in financial volumes, underscoring a notable change in consumer buying habits. 

“We are seeing share and market improvement everywhere, and more consumers are reaching for our beers than our competitors’ beers.”

– Molson Coors CEO Gavin Hattersley said in an earnings call Tuesday.

Coors Light and Miller Lite, combined, were 50% larger than Bud Light in terms of total industry dollars, the company’s CFO Gavin Hattersley said during the earnings call. The stats represent a notable shift in the market landscape, considering that Bud Light was a larger label than both Molson Coors’ brands a year ago. 

Over the past 6 months, shares of Molson Coors surged by 22.7% to $66.52. The stock rose above the $60 mark at the start of May – roughly at the same time when Bud Light’s stock collapsed – and stayed above ever since.

Molson Coors shares embarking breaking above $60 on May 1. Source: Google
Bud Light shares crashed at the beginning of May. Source: Finbold

Bud Light sales fell 26.5% last month

In contrast, Bud Light’s sales have been on a sharp downward trajectory for the past few months, which have dropped by more than 25% since conservative activists launched boycotts against the brewer’s ad campaign featuring Dylan Mulvaney. 

The company’s sales declined for several consecutive weeks after the marketing campaign, allowing another brewer, Modelo Especial, to dethrone Bud Light. During the month that ended on July 15, Bud Light’s sales plummeted 26.5% in the US, while Modelo witnessed 13.5% growth. 

Furthermore, Bud Light parent Anheuser Busch’s (NYSE: BUD) stock is also notably in the red, losing 10.7% of its value compared to the last quarter and down more than 5.7% since the start of 2023. 

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