Country music singer John Rich said he pulled cases of Bud Light from his Nashville bar as part of a boycott against the Anheuser-Busch brand for partnering with transgender activist Dylan Mulvaney in a polarizing promotional campaign.
“The customers decide. Customers are king,” Rich said Monday on “Tucker Carlson Tonight.” “I own a bar in downtown Nashville. Our number one selling beer up until a few days ago was what? Bud Light. We got cases and cases and cases of it sitting back there. But in the past several days you’re hard-pressed to find anyone ordering one. So as a business owner, I go, hey if you aren’t ordering it, we got to put something else in here. At the end of the day, that’s capitalism. That’s how it works.”
The beer maker ignited a firestorm earlier this month when it celebrated Mulvaney’s “365 Days of Girlhood,” by sending Mulvaney custom-made cans featuring the influencer’s face. Mulvaney said the cans were her “most prized possession” on Instagram with a post featuring “#budlightpartner.” A video then featured Mulvaney in a bathtub drinking a Bud Light beer as part of the campaign.
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The announcement was met with a hefty amount of criticism, with some Twitter users describing the ad campaign as the latest attempt to push gender propaganda. Many mocked Bud Light over the partnership. Kid Rock even used several Bud Light cases for target practice in a viral video echoing calls to boycott the brand.
Rich, the founder of Redneck Riviera, a popular bar and restaurant in Nashville, asked his Twitter followers last week to weigh in on replacement suggestions after pulling Bud Light from his bar.
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“It’s their right to market it however they want. They’re making a bet [that] this is going to sell more product,” Rich said. “…What’s happening, Tucker, is people who have been loyal to brands for decades and decades are finding it hard to stay loyal to them, so they start hunting down other brands that they can support. There are tons of up-and-coming American brands out there that people are flooding to, kind of like mine.”
Bud Light’s vice president of marketing, Alissa Heinerscheid, seemingly defended the controversial marketing move in a recent interview with the podcast “Make Yourself At Home,” where she said she was inspired to update the “fratty” and “out of touch” humor of the beer company with inclusivity.
“I’m a businesswoman, I had a really clear job to do when I took over Bud Light, and it was ‘This brand is in decline, it’s been in a decline for a really long time, and if we do not attract young drinkers to come and drink this brand there will be no future for Bud Light,‘” Heinerscheid said.
The beer company also defended the partnership.
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“Anheuser-Busch works with hundreds of influencers across our brands as one of many ways to authentically connect with audiences across various demographics. From time to time we produce unique commemorative cans for fans and for brand influencers, like Dylan Mulvaney. This commemorative can was a gift to celebrate a personal milestone and is not for sale to the general public,” an Anheuser-Busch spokesperson told Fox News.
Fox News’ Alexander Hall contributed to this report.