Anheuser-Busch showered distributors with $150 million in “incentive payments” to keep Bud Light beer on the shelves, according to a new report.
According to Beer Marketer’s Insights, Anheuser-Busch is offering as much as $150 million in relief this year alone to beer and liquor distributors. AB InBev will reportedly provide the distributors with millions in “market share recovery incentives.”
The New York Post reported, “There were no further details about the ‘market share recovery incentives,’ but the timing is significant as most retailers revamp their shelf space in the spring when they look at the last 12 months of sales and determine which products are hot and deserve more space — and which will lose space.”
The relief plan was started in June by Anheuser-Busch and will reportedly continue through the spring.
“Bud Light is set to lose refrigerator space at a vast network of stores belonging to key beer sellers like Walmart and 7-Eleven, since the retailers typically reapportion shelf space based on recent sales performance, taking space away from struggling brands and giving it to hot-selling ones,” industry sources told ABC News in September.
Former Anheuser-Busch InBev executive Anson Frericks told ABC News that shelf space is “the single largest determinant of sales in a store.”
“During a busy shopping period on a Friday or Saturday night, if you don’t have the beer available cold on the shelf, consumers pick something else,” Frericks explained. “There will be a dramatic shift.”
Dave Williams – vice president of analytics and insights at Bump Williams Consulting – added, “There’s explosive growth on one side and sharp decline on the other. This does have that ripple effect where if Bud Light loses space on the shelf, that could make it a longer-term endeavor to claw back to where they were if they’re ever able to do that in the first place.”
In July, a survey found that Bud Light is no longer one of the top 10 beers in America following the Dylan Mulvaney controversy. In the second quarter of 2023, Bud Light was tied for the 14th-ranked beer brand with a 42% popularity rating. Bud Light was tied with Pabst Blue Ribbon beer.
Anheuser-Busch allegedly did not immediately respond to a request for comment by the New York Post.
Anheuser-Busch waded into a culture war in April when Bud Light partnered with transgender influencer Dylan Mulvaney. The move to promote the LGBTQ activist has cost Bud Light and the Anheuser-Busch parent company with declining sales, revenue, and market share.
The advertising partnership sparked outrage, backlash, and boycotts of Bud Light.
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