Associated Press: By Philip Marcelo – CLAIM: The maker of Bud Light is going bankrupt as it faces ongoing backlash over a marketing campaign featuring a transgender social media personality.

AP’S ASSESSMENT: False. A spokesperson for Anheuser-Busch InBev said there’s “no truth” to the claim the world’s largest beer maker is on the verge of financial ruin. Industry experts note the company remains financially sound, with billions of dollars in assets and a rising stock market price. Sales of Bud Light have ebbed in recent weeks, but not to the drastic level claimed by online critics.

THE FACTS: Social media users are heralding the demise of the company behind Bud Light and many of the world’s most popular beer labels.

A number are sharing posts suggesting Bud Light’s recent social media effort with transgender personality Dylan Mulvaney has resulted in plummeting sales.

Mulvaney, who is known for documenting her gender transition on social media, promoted Bud Light in a post earlier this month, and the partnership was met with scorn and calls for boycotts by some prominent conservatives.

“Bud Light Official SALES REPORT Just Released | 50% DROP In Sales | Total COLLAPSE | Bankruptcy?” wrote one Twitter user in a post that’s been liked or shared more than 11,000 times as of Monday.

“Woke Bud Light Going BANKRUPT as Anheuser Busch HIT with Lawsuit!!!” a Facebook user wrote, referencing a federal discriminatory hiring complaint filed against the company this month by a conservative group.

While it’s true the beer conglomerate’s stock price dipped briefly and sales of Bud Light are down year-on-year in recent weeks, there’s no sign the company has been fatally wounded, industry experts say.

“Not only is it not going bankrupt, the lost sales of Bud Light are nearly negligible in relation to its global sales, at least so far,” Harry Schuhmacher, publisher of Beer Business Daily, an industry trade publication, wrote in an email.

Trevor Stirling, an analyst at the financial research firm Bernstein who specializes in the beer industry, concurred.

“Weakness on its biggest US brand will provide some short-term pain,” he wrote in an email. “But it has billions of dollars of cash reserves and no major debt repayments for several years.”

Bud Light is among the top selling brands worldwide, but it’s just one of many long-popular ales owned by the company, which is often referred simply as AB InBev and also produces Corona, Stella Artois, Beck’s, Hoegaarden and other beer lines.

Shares in the company dipped as low as $63 in recent days, but have risen to nearly $66 as of Tuesday. That’s a roughly 45% increase since September, when shares were trading at about $45, analysts say.

Meanwhile, sales of Bud Light in the US fell 17 percent during the week ending April 15 compared to the same week last year, according to Robert Ottenstein, an analyst with Evercore ISI, an investment banking advisory firm in New York.

But he cautioned against drawing snap conclusions from the weekly numbers, which were reported by Beer Business Daily and other trade outlets.

“Short periods of time tend to be noisy and may not accurately reflect underlying trends,” Ottenstein wrote.

The sales drop is also a far cry from the 50 percent decline cited in many social media posts, said Dave Williams, a vice president at Bump Williams Consulting, a Connecticut-based alcohol industry research firm, whose comments were featured in a clip making that claim.

“Fifty is an overshot,” he said in a phone interview Tuesday. “From what I was looking at, I haven’t seen declines that steep.”

Moreover, sales of Bud Light and other mass produced light beers have been on the decline for years in the face of growing competition from craft beer and other new alcoholic beverages, experts note.

“The reality is that beer consumption has been hit by the explosion of the hard seltzer market, the low carb trend, and a general cultural shift away from brands that have only focused on one small segment of the total population of beer drinkers,” Susan Dobscha, a marketing professor at Bentley University in Waltham, Massachusetts, wrote in an email.

She and other experts argue the beer giant will likely weather the storm, citing other recent culture war controversies that were ultimately short-lived, including shaving giant Gillette’s “toxic masculinity” ad during the 2019 Super Bowl and Nike’s 2018 ads featuring NFL star and racial justice activist Colin Kaepernick.

“People were burning shoes and the stock price initially fell, only for sales and stocks to rebound to higher levels than before,” Andy Aylesworth, also a marketing professor at Bentley University, wrote in an email, referencing the Nike uproar.

AB InBev, for its part, has also disputed the notion it was on the verge of folding.

“I can confirm,” Kaitlin Craig, a spokesperson for the company, wrote in an email, “there is no truth to the bankruptcy claim.”

Associated Press reporter Josh Kelety in Phoenix contributed to this story.

Top Feature Photo: FILE – Cans of Bud Light beer are seen in Washington, Thursday Jan. 10, 2019. The Associated Press on Tuesday, April 25, 2023 reported on false claims that Anheuser-Busch InBev, the maker of Bud Light, is going bankrupt as it faces backlash over a marketing campaign featuring a transgender social media personality – AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin