**Trailing Donald Trump in the Polls, Ron DeSantis Targets Bud Light**
Florida governor Ron DeSantis, who is lagging behind Donald Trump in the polls, has found a new cause to rally the Republican base: criticizing Bud Light. The popular beer brand faced backlash from conservative voters after partnering with transgender influencer Dylan Mulvaney, prompting an impromptu boycott that caused Bud Light to lose its status as America’s favorite beer.
**Florida Governor Threatens Legal Action Against Bud Light**
Governor DeSantis claims that the Florida pension fund, which owned $50 million worth of AB InBev stock out of a total $180 billion, suffered as a result of Bud Light’s decision to work with Mulvaney. Following the controversy, AB InBev’s shares dropped 12%, while its competitors, Constellation Brands and Molson Coors, saw their shares rally by 19% and 36% respectively. DeSantis stated that he plans to launch an inquiry and potentially file a derivative lawsuit on behalf of the shareholders of the Florida pension fund against Bud Light and AB InBev.
**Political Benefits of Lawsuit Threat**
While the legal merit of the lawsuit is unclear, the political attention it brings to DeSantis’s campaign may be more valuable to the candidate. DeSantis’s campaign has been struggling, and he is currently undergoing a campaign reboot in an attempt to regain support. Former Wisconsin governor Scott Walker urged DeSantis to make bold moves to differentiate himself from Trump and appeal to primary and caucus voters. DeSantis has built his campaign on stoking divisions in the culture war, criticizing companies like The Walt Disney Company and even threatening to build a prison next to Disney World. The ongoing feud with Disney and its CEO Bob Iger has resulted in a lawsuit and potential loss of investment. The fight with Disney may have pushed DeSantis to shift his attention to an easier target like Anheuser Busch.
**Bud Light’s Decline in Bars and Restaurants**
Amidst the controversy, Anheuser-Busch is now facing criticism from both conservatives and LGBTQ advocacy groups. GLAAD has announced its support for the Bud Light boycott, while Mulvaney accused the beer brand of lacking support for its transgender employees. Anheuser-Busch CEO Brendan Whitworth launched a new ad campaign to garner support for Bud Light, but it seems to have had little effect. According to hospitality industry software provider Union, Bud Light dropped to fourth place in on-premise sales in bars and restaurants, with demand falling by 34% in the second quarter. Miller Lite, Michelob Ultra, and Coors Light all proved more popular choices in this sector.
**Business Impact and Investor Outlook**
The true business impact of the Bud Light boycott will become clearer when Molson Coors and AB InBev release their quarterly results in the coming weeks. Investors will be watching closely to assess the repercussions of the controversy on both companies.
The bud light boycott has had significant political and business implications, and its aftermath will likely continue to unfold in the coming months.