Why The Saloon Dumped Anheuser-Busch
Photo courtesy of The Saloon

Why The Saloon Dumped Anheuser-Busch

The Minneapolis gay bar has replaced Bud Light products with beers from local breweries Modist Brewing Co. and Bauhaus Brew Labs.

It’s official: Minneapolis gay bar The Saloon has cut all ties with Anheuser-Busch after the beer brand’s response to blowback from a marketing promotion with a trans influencer.

In April, transgender influencer Dylan Mulvaney posted a video of herself promoting a Bud Light contest and drinking a can of the lager. The post generated fierce backlash from conservative users on social media, which eventually led Anheuser-Busch to place two marketing executives on leave.

The Saloon had actually stopped carrying Anheuser-Busch products on May 13, but the company decided to make a formal announcement on Monday. John Moore, owner of The Saloon, said that the beer brand’s response was “unacceptable.”

“Anheuser-Busch had an opportunity to support a marginalized community in a way that few other corporations have attempted, but they abandoned that direction,” he said.

In an interview with TCB, Moore said he wanted to support the trans community in any way he could, especially after his own experience with homophobia when The Saloon first opened in 1977.

In place of the national beer brand, The Saloon has now partnered with Twin Cities brewers Modist Brewing Co. and Bauhaus Brew Labs. Chris Bock, The Saloon’s CEO, said those two local brands support the LGBTQIA+ community.

“For more than 45 years, The Saloon has strived to be a safe space for the queer community, and we were determined to get this decision right,” Bock told TCB in an email.

Bock said the customers’ reception to the new offerings has been positive.

“Our customers know that certain brands treat the LGBTQIA+ community as a commodity to make money off once a year during Pride Month,” Bock said in an email to TCB. “The queer community is more than a target audience for marketers and wants businesses [to] step up and show their sincere support.”

Although the cost per ounce is generally lower for national brands, The Saloon said it purchases in bulk to get the best pricing from suppliers and still offers a variety of brands, allowing customers to choose their drinks for a price they’re comfortable paying.

“The Saloon has no interest in supporting Anheuser-Busch or any company for that matter if it won’t support our community in return,” The Saloon said in a May 13 Facebook post. “We cannot associate with companies that aren’t sure where they stand, nor do we have the patience to deal with them.”

Although Anheuser-Busch products were popular, The Saloon has not seen a dip in sales. The decision to stop providing Anheuser-Busch products has had minimal overall operational impact, Bock said.