Home > Music > Is Kid Rock, Travis Tritt’s Bud Boycott All Froth?

Is Kid Rock, Travis Tritt’s Bud Boycott All Froth?

Boycotting Budweiser is like swearing off Google for online searches: You could do it, but it’s pretty hard to go out for a drink and avoid Bud, Bud Light, Busch, Corona, Modelo, Natural Light, Stella Artois, Michelob or one of the many regional and international brands owned by parent company AB Inbev.


That hasn’t stopped Kid Rock, John Rich and Travis Tritt from lashing out at the world’s leading beer company after transgender TikTok star and social media influencer Dylan Mulvaney shared a video on April 1 of herself participating in Bud Light’s Easy Carry Contest for the end of the NCAA’s March Madness. In the clip, she revealed that the company helped her celebrate her “365th day of womanhood” with “possibly the best gift ever” — a commemorative can of Bud Light with Mulvaney’s face on the side.

The can, which was personalized for Mulvaney and is not available for commercial sale, was enough of an affront to the artists that Rock uploaded a video in which he attempted to obliterate 12-packs of Bud Light with a semi-automatic rifle, while yelling “f–k Bud Light, and f–kk Anheuser-Busch” into the camera. The “Devil Without a Cause” rapper-turned-country-rocker did not specifically call out Mulvaney (or mention the word trans), nor did he say that he was calling for a ban of AB products in his video.

On April 5, country singer Tritt announced that he would be “deleting all Anheuser-Busch products from my tour hospitality rider,” adding that there were “many other artists who are doing the same.” Later that day, Rich of country duo Big & Rich tweeted suggesting he would be pulling Bud Light from his Nashville restaurant/bar Redneck Riviera.

While Rock has already pulled AB titles from his Nashville Honky Tonk Rock & Roll Steakhouse and, according to a bartender during a visit on Thursday (April 13), Rich’s Redneck Riviera is in the process of pulling Bud Light, the artists will have a harder time implementing any kind of ban on tour when playing theaters, amphitheaters and arenas with contracted beer suppliers; an artist can, however, request just about anything on their personal tour rider, a document listing their backstage necessities.

According to Chris Bigelow, president of food and beverage consulting giant Bigelow Consulting, though, “the artist has no say” when it comes to demanding a venue remove AB Inbev products from taps and venue bars during their shows.

“Maybe if it was a bigger star that said, ‘I won’t play your building [if you don’t remove them]’ and everyone wanted that star to play then maybe you’d say, ‘let’s figure this out,’” says Bigelow, whose company has worked with stadiums, arenas and convention centers to stock their food and beverage for more than 40 years in North America and around the world. “But I don’t see Kid Rock at that level and if he’s already booked to play shows I don’t see anything changing…. “Now if it was Beyoncé or Taylor Swift they might consider changing the taps, but I’ve never heard of them doing that.”

Rock currently has a number of U.S. arena shows on the books for this summer at a variety of buildings that currently have AB products on tap. And while they may not accommodate his Bud-cott venue-wide, Bigelow adds, “He can ask for whatever he wants backstage.”

The artists’ call for a boycott — which has been amplified by conservative network Fox News — is likely to make noise, but not change drinking habits much according to Neil Reid, a professor of geography and planning at the University of Toledo who is also known as the “Beer Professor” for his deep knowledge and study of the suds industry, which he has lectured about across the world for more than 25 years.

“I would imagine that these venues [the artists play while on tour] already have contracts with distributors or outside vendors that run their food service and concessions and I’d be surprised if any of these artists could eliminate any particular beer from these venues,” Reid tells Billboard of the standard contracts in which the venue and/or concession company of record decide what brews to serve based on existing contracts with buildings and distributors.

Reid says AB Inbev is the world’s leading beer barreler, with more than 500 brands that make up eight of the top 10 best-selling beers in the United States and nearly 40% of the U.S. market as of 2021 figures and 30% of the global market. He noted that AB has long participated in outreach to the LGBTQ community, including sponsoring pride celebrations, and that calls for a boycott typically make for good headlines but little else.

“These boycotts are typically a strategy to get those 15 minutes of fame and this one has already gotten it, but the news cycle usually runs out and they disappear,” he says. “Because consumers are creatures of habit — one thing in AB Inbev’s favor — and because they own so many different brands, someone might think they’re not buying one of their products and they actually are. It’s about me as a consumer feeling good about taking action, but I don’t see this adding to any significant numbers that will impact AB Inbev.”

–Additional reporting by Jessica Nicholson

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