Anheuser-Busch announced on Wednesday that it would be laying off almost 2 percent of its U.S. workforce, or 360 employees. The layoffs come amid a recent decline in sales for Bud Light, the company’s flagship beer, and controversy over its partnership with transgender influencer Dylan Mulvaney.
Bud Light sales have fallen by 26.5 percent in the month ending July 15, while Modelo Especial, a Mexican beer also owned by Anheuser-Busch, has seen sales increase by 13.5 percent. This has led to Bud Light losing its spot as the top-selling beer in the U.S. for the first time in more than two decades.
The controversy over the partnership with Mulvaney began in May, when the company posted an Instagram advertisement featuring her posing with a personalized Bud Light can. The partnership was met with backlash from conservatives, who called for a boycott of Bud Light. Mulvaney’s supporters and LGBTQ advocates argued that Anheuser-Busch did not do enough to defend the partnership.
In a statement, Anheuser-Busch CEO Brendan Whitworth said that the layoffs were “a very difficult but necessary decision” that was made in order to “ensure that our organization continues to be set for future long-term success.”
The layoffs will affect employees across all corporate functions at Anheuser-Busch. The company said that it will provide severance packages and outplacement services to affected employees.
The layoffs are the latest in a series of challenges for Anheuser-Busch. The company has also been facing increasing competition from craft brewers and other beer brands.
It remains to be seen how the layoffs will impact Anheuser-Busch’s long-term prospects. However, the company is clearly facing some significant challenges.