Beverage giant AB InBev’s Anheuser-Busch will cut less than 2% of its corporate workforce, in order to “simplify and reduce layers” within its company, it said in a statement shared with Food Dive. The decision will not impact its frontline employees, such as brewery and warehouse workers, drivers and field sales.
In a statement, Anheuser-Busch CEO Brendan Whitworth said the cuts are a “very difficult but necessary decision” for the company.
“While we never take these decisions lightly, we want to ensure that our organization continues to be set for future long-term success,” Whitworth said. “These corporate structure changes will enable our teams to focus on what we do best — brewing great beer for everyone and earning our place in the moments that matter.”
Anheuser-Busch employs roughly 19,000 U.S. workers, according to its website. If accurate, the less than 2% job cuts figure would affect under 380 workers.
The company has faced significant headwinds this year, sparked by a conservative backlash to its top-selling beer Bud Light after a promotional video on Instagram featuring transgender influencer Dylan Mulvaney. LGBTQ+ advocacy groups like the Human Rights Campaign also criticized the company for its response to the controversy and lowered the beverage maker’s Corporate Equality Index score.
The firestorm had an immediate impact on the iconic beer brand. In early July, the beverage lost its spot as the top-selling beer in the country to Modelo Especial, owned by rival Constellation Brands. In the week ending July 16, sales of Bud Light declined 20.1% and volumes fell 23.6% year-over-year, according to Circana data reported by Brewbound. In a note shared by the publication, Bernstein Autonomous analyst Nadine Sarwat said Anheuser-Busch’s market share in the alcohol space is at an “all time low.”
Anheuser-Busch has attempted to ameliorate its dismal financial situation through an ad campaign which debuted this summer, focused on the people, branding and partnerships that make up its business. It will share its latest financial results with investors in its quarterly earnings call next Thursday.