America has crowned a new favorite beer — and it's not one of its own.
Modelo Especial is now the nation's No. 1 selling beer, dethroning Bud Light for the first time since 2001 and further signaling that the recent protest against the brand isn't over.
The Mexican lager had the most U.S. retail beer sales in the month that ended on June 3, according to Nielsen data analyzed by Bump Williams, making up 8.4% of sales while Bud Light fell to second with 7.3%.
The new ranking comes alongside a period of declining sales for Bud Light. For the past two months, conservative critics have slammed and boycotted the brand after it worked with transgender influencer Dylan Mulvaney.
On April 1, Mulvaney posted a sponsored video touting a Bud Light can with her picture on it and said the company sent it to her as she celebrated her "day 365 of womanhood." She and Bud Light then became targets, mostly in conservative circles.
Kid Rock posted his own video days after the post in which he cursed the beer and its parent company, Anheuser-Busch, and shot cans of it with a rifle. Republican lawmakers pushed the move as a Democratic ploy, and customers posted videos of themselves pouring out the beer.
Anheuser-Busch said "several" of its facilities received threats after the partnership, including a bomb squad unit responding to a threat at a Los Angeles facility.
The parent company has defended the decision to partner, saying it was an effort to attract a younger audience. But it later announced two marketing executives who oversaw the partnership were on a leave of absence, prompting further criticism from the other side of the aisle on its attempt to backtrack support for Mulvaney and the partnership decision.
But the new ranking doesn't count Bud Light out of the race just yet. Its year-to-date market share is still outpacing Modelo's by a percentage point, and its sales volumes are higher than the Mexico City-made beer for that period.
Modelo does have the momentum though, with sales up 12% and increasing by double-digit percentages every week. Bud Light's U.S. retail sales were down 24% in the month listed.
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