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Man, I gotta admit it. As the Budweiser products boycott continues in the aftermath of Bud Light’s disastrous decision to hook up with Dylan Mulvaney, the 26-year-old TikTok influencer who prances around and pretends he’s a “transgender” teenage girl, Garth Brooks was among the last guys I would expect to not only hop aboard the Bud Light Express but to also slam the boycotters, as well — and worse.
Then again, Brooks did sing “Amazing Grace” at Joe Biden’s inauguration, so there’s that.
Anyway, the country music superstar willfully boarding the Bud Light Express was unexpected.
Brooks made the decision to serve Bud Light at his soon-to-open Friends in Low Place Bar & Honky Tonk in Nashville despite the Mulvaney controversy, insisting the ‘selling every brand of beer” and “loving one another” was his objective, and hoo-boy did Brooks make his point crystal clear. In a conversation with Billboard executive editor Melinda Newman at Billboard Country Live in Nashville, Brooks said.
I want it to be a place you feel safe in, I want it to be a place where you feel like there are manners and people like one another. And yes, we’re going to serve every brand of beer. We just are. It’s not our decision to make.
Our thing is this: If you [are let] into this house, love one another. If you’re an a**hole, there are plenty of other places on lower Broadway [in Nashville].
In other words, Garth Brooks fans and country music devotees in general, if you don’t like it, kindly take your drinkin’ money elsewhere; you’re not welcome here among us “love one another” folks.
Don’t get me wrong; “loving one another” is fine, but in Bud Light’s case, the brand spent decades and untold millions of dollars building brand loyalty only to wash it down the toilet like so much lousy beer because pandering to “woke” and so-called “transgenderism” was apparently more important than loyal customers.
If Bud Light would’ve promptly stepped up to the plate and apologized — not for whatever the hell its decision-makers believe, personally, but for alienating millions of Bud Light drinkers — all might have been okay, or at least on a path to redemption.
But Bud Light instead doubled and tripled down — which is exactly what Garth Brooks is in the process of doing, as well.
Fellow country music superstar — and an awesome patriot — John Rich weighed in on Garth Brooks and his decision, diplomatically tiptoeing as he responded to the controversy:
Garth Brooks has always been the guy that said, “Everybody come to my show.” It’s something that we love about Garth. You know, he makes his music for everybody. And that really is what music is about. You’re making your music for everybody. Beer’s for everybody, too.
If Garth is serving Bud Light in his bar, that’s fine. Garth can do that. Garth might find out not many people are going to order it. And at the end of the day, you have to put things in your establishment that people are going to purchase if you’re going to run a successful business. So, he might find that out.
Rich, who created Nashville’s Redneck Riviera, made the decision to no longer stock Bud Light in his bar.
The customers aren’t going to order it. I’m not going to stock it. We’ve only got [a] limited area. I’ve got a limited bar. It’s like … I’ve got to put beer and whiskey and vodkas up here that people want to purchase and they want to support. And brother, I can tell you right now, it’s a vicious attitude toward Bud Light.
Diplomatic, yes. But clearly understood — and for the right reasons.
The Bottom Line
As a pragmatic, bottom-line thinker, it mystifies me why a successful corporation — or a wildly popular country music star — would take such an easily-identifiable financial risk simply to pander to a minute percentage of the population. Perhaps I’m too shallow to understand. [sarc]
Yeah, I get the DEI pressure from financial institutions, sponsors, and the like, but keep your personal views separate from your business decisions, particularly given the negative continuing impact on Bud Light and Target. They’ve lost tens of billions of dollars in steadily declining market cap value and infuriated shareholders.
Apologies for the mini-rant, but damn. And now Garth Brooks? Wonders never cease.