Light Wave


Bud Light boycott accelerates decline of domestic beers, lowest levels since 1999

By Jake Beardslee · December 30, 2023

In brief…

  • Beer drinking in the U.S. hit its lowest level since 1999, falling below 200 million barrels.
  • Bud Light's parent company lost $27 billion in market value and saw sales fall 30%.
  • Other top domestic brands like Miller Lite and Coors Light also declined.
Americans are drinking less beer, with consumption falling to its lowest level this century in 2023 amid a boycott of Bud Light and changing tastes.  Mike Mozart/Wikimedia

Americans’ beer consumption fell to its lowest level this century in 2023, dropping below 200 million barrels for the first time since 1999, according to a new report from Beer Markets Insights. This decline was driven in part by a boycott of Bud Light sparked by the brand’s sponsorship deal with influencer Dylan Mulvaney.

The boycott didn’t account for the entire decline, BMI vice president David Steinman told NBC News, and there was an ongoing drop in demand for domestic premium beers like Bud Light, Miller Lite, and Coors Light. Anheuser-Busch, Bud Light’s parent company, bore the brunt of the sales slump. But other top brands, including Coors Light and Miller Lite, also saw declines.

Anheuser-Busch, producer of Bud Light, led the downturn. But the company remains profitable thanks to price hikes that kept pace with broader inflation, according to NBC. Consumers continued shifting to more expensive import brews, like Modelo Especial, now America’s top-selling beer. Still, beer faces stiff competition from new alcohol products flooding the market. And the once-booming craft beer segment has slowed. With so many drink options available, consumers today may feel overwhelmed by choice. For beer giants like Anheuser-Busch, the challenge is adapting to rapidly changing tastes amid a crowded field.