Modelo Especial beer, produced in Mexico, has unseated Bud Light in the US market for the first time.MARIO TAMA (Getty Images via AFP)
There is a new queen beer on the American market. For the first time in more than two decades, Bud Light has been ousted from the top spot in sales. The throne is now occupied by a drink made in Mexico, according to a consulting firm. Modelo Especial, from Grupo Modelo, has conquered the highest position in the month of May. The consumption of the brand distributed by Constellation Brands has grown rapidly in the preferences of Americans. The milestone is also the product of a boycott. Bud Light has spun weeks of sales declines after linking up with a campaign for LGBTI rights.
The low hours of the most popular beer in the United States have been well used by the Mexican lager, popular among younger palates for its more corpulent flavor. In the first week of this month, Modelo Especial has increased its sales by 12.2% and dominates important places such as Los Angeles and Chicago. In the last month, Grupo Modelo's drink has captured 8.4% of the US market, while Bud Light has remained in second place with 7.3%. Both beers are owned by the Belgian Anheuser-Busch, although Modelo has been distributed since 2013 in the North American territory by Constellation Brands as part of an agreement with antitrust regulators.
The Bud Light debacle began in April. In an attempt to broaden their consumer base, marketers sent a beer can specially decorated with the rainbow, the symbol of the LGBTI community, to a transgender woman, Dylan Mulvaney. The influencer posted the gesture on her Instagram page, followed by nearly 11 million people. The effort to win sympathy heading into June, gay pride month, was a shot that backfired.
In response to Mulvaney's video, Bud Light began to be tagged in videos where hundreds of consumers poured beer down the pipe. The Trumpist and homophobic rocker Kid Rock went further and uploaded to the networks how he undid several boxes of the drink with a high-powered rifle. "Bud Light, Anheuser-Busch," said the musician, who wore a MAGA (Make America Great Again) cap. Bud Light will not back down and has stated that it will double down by sponsoring several community events.
Bud Light's campaign turned out to be a disaster that forced the two executives who gave it the green light to leave the company. The advertising effort offended many consumers who had helped beer stay at the top of the consumption since 2001, when it snatched the top spot from Budweiser. Bud Light's U.S. sales fell 24 percent in the week ended June 3, according to consulting firm Bump Williams.
According to this firm, Modelo Especial can extend the advantage over its competition, especially if it manages to grow on the East Coast. Its sales registered increases week by week towards the summer, the best time for the sale of the amber liquid. The brand is also gaining traction thanks to a new launch, a low-calorie beer called Model Gold.
The figures studied by the consultants that analyze the sector do not include sales in restaurants or bars. Experts cited by CNN and the AP agency believe that the blow taken by Bud Light is even worse in these outlets, while Modelo advances in great strides in these sites.
Special Model entered the United States in the 90s. Hispanics were the natural target of a long-standing beer brewed at a plant in the heart of Mexico City. In 2013 the Modelo Group passed into the hands of the Belgian Anheuser-Busch InBev, who gave the products an international push beyond the borders crossed by Corona (Coronita in some countries).
The company has been committed since 2015 to an aggressive campaign in English. This Wednesday, Constellation Brands has revealed that it doubled the investment in marketing in the last five years, which has led Modelo Especial to be present at concerts, sporting events and other high-profile shows. It was the beginning of an offensive that has taken Mexican lager to the top of one of the world's most competitive markets.
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