The descendant of Anheuser-Busch’s founder wants to take his namesake company in a new direction that avoids politics and division—and paraphrased Trump while he did it.
- Billy Busch is the 63-year-old great-grandson of Adolphus Busch, who became president of Anheuser-Busch alongside Eberhard Anheuser in 1879.
- He is also the author of Family Reins: The Extraordinary Rise and Epic Fall of an American Dynasty, which was released on August 1, and the owner of Busch Family Brewing and Distilling in Missouri. His St. Louis family starred in the reality show Busch Family Brewed.
- Speaking with Newsmax on August 9, Busch says that his family would have never approached advertising the way the current company leadership has approached it.
- He says that most Bud Light drinkers don’t relate to “woke liberal” ideas created by college kids who are disconnected from the heartland of beer drinkers.
- Busch recommended that the company should bring in a member of the Busch family or sell the brand, arguing that his leadership could “make Bud Light great again.”
Why It’s Important
On April 1, transgender influencer Dylan Mulvaney released a cross-promotional Instagram video with Bud Light. Subsequently, an interview with Bud Light Vice President of Marketing Alissa Heinerscheid revealed that she was attempting to shift the brand away from its “fratboy” image toward a new audience of young progressive beer drinkers. Within two weeks, Bud Light’s sales precipitously dropped and have continued to do so.
On August 4, Busch caught the limelight on this issue during an interview with TMZ Live by saying, “My ancestors would have rolled over in their graves” over that marketing campaign. He further argued that “I just don’t think the audience that drinks beer is into transgenders” and that “People who drink beer care about wholesome things.”
His newest quip to “make Bud Light great again” echoes President Donald Trump’s famous campaign slogan, “Make America Great Again,” and carries much of the same energy and baggage that it is known for.
Mulvaney has conversely been very outspoken about their concerns with “transphobia and bullying” that have emerged out of the nearly five-month campaign. They criticized Bud Light’s cowardice and unwillingness to stand up for a trans activist, saying, “For a company to hire a trans person and then not publicly stand by them is worse, in my opinion, than not hiring a trans person at all.”
“I’m closer to what went on in my family and how my family ran the brewery … and I understand how we went about doing business, from my grandfather Adophus to the last leader of Anheuser-Busch. They loved this country, and they stayed away from politics because they didn’t want to turn off a big portion of the population. What AB InBev has done is turned off a large portion of the population with their advertising. Let’s face it—the Dylan Mulvaney advertising was controversial, it was something people didn’t relate to, and it was a political agenda shoved down people’s throats. The people that drink beer didn’t relate to advertising like that. I don’t know if AB InBev will ever recover from it,” says Busch.
Backing Up A Bit
As we previously reported, Anheuser-Busch sold off eight craft beer brands this week amid the continuing boycotts, which drew speculation about whether the brand was struggling or if this deal had been in place prior to the boycott. The company had already previously announced a moderate hit in the second quarter but performed above expectations thanks to solid sales of other beer brands. However, the company was forced to lay off 2% of its U.S. work staff due to the boycott.
Economists remain confused by the enduring success of the boycott and have noted that the company is facing sustained brand damage if it does not recover soon. One anonymous beer distributor recently told the New York Post recently that Bud Light sales may never recover from the ongoing controversy.