In May 2023, the Mexican beer Modelo Especial was the best-selling beer in the US, taking the title from Bud Light for the first time in 20 years. According to data from Bump Williams Consulting, Modelo captured 8.4% of US retail beer sales, with Bud Light falling to second place with 7.3%.
During May, Modelo Especial increased its sales by 12.2%, being at the top of important markets, such as Los Angeles and Chicago. Meanwhile, Bud Light sales dropped 24.4%. Analysts pointed out that the collapse in Bud Light sales is mainly due to a boicot organized by conservative consumers, following a campaign pro-LGBTQ+ rights. At the same time, as reported by MBN, in recent years, drinkers have been switching their beer preference to Mexican beers and spirits, such as tequila and mezcal.
Bump Williams, CEO, Bump Williams Consulting, stressed that different factors contributed to Modelo becoming the top-selling beer during this period, including strong retailer support, great advertising, good packaging and a “springboard effect” from Cinco de Mayo going into the summer. Additionally, he highlighted that Modelo Oro, the brand’s new low-carb beer, is off to a strong start following its May debut.
“Modelo has been enjoying an incredible run of success for the past several years. Our growth is in maintaining our core but also bringing in non-Hispanic customers to the equation, to expand our market,” said Greg Gallagher, Vice President of Brand and Marketing, Constellation Brands, in a CNN interview. Modelo entered the US market in the 1990s with Hispanic customers being the main target of the Mexican beer. Later on, Grupo Modelo was bought by Belgian Anheuser-Busch, who gave the products international recognition. In 2013, Constellation Brands, acquired the US branch of the company.
According to Bump Williams Consulting, Modelo is in the best moment to extend its advantage over the competition, especially if it manages to grow on the East Coast, as its sales increase week by week toward the summer. Moreover, specialists believe that Bud Light is underperforming in bars and restaurants, while Modelo advances significantly at these sale points.
Regarding domestic sales, Grupo Modelo expects the heat wave in Mexico to have a positive impact on the company. In this regard, between May and June 2023, the Small Traders Commercial Alliance (ANPEC) reported an 80% increase in beer sales. "The Mexican industry is resilient, natural and inclusive,” said Cassiano De Stefano, Director General, Grupo Modelo.