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Modelo Continues to Dominate Bud Light, Hits Another Major Milestone for the First Time Ever Although external factors like Bud Light's PR woes played a role, Modelo's rise to the top wasn't merely coincidental. The company had aimed to become the No. 1 beer in America by 2025.

By Madeline Garfinkle

Key Takeaways

  • Modelo maintains its title as the leading U.S. beer, surpassing Bud Light sales year-to-date.
  • Modelo says that though it surpassed Bud Light sooner than expected, it was always part of the plan.
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Modelo first took the title of America's top-selling beer in May, dethroning Bud Light after it held the title for nearly two decades. Now, new data shows that the Mexican beer has kept the lead ever since, and has surpassed Bud Light sales year-to-date for the first time.

According to NIQ data, per CNN, Modelo beat out Bud Light in dollars spent on beer from the start of the year to August 12, with Modelo having an 8.34% share and Bud Light trailing at 8.28%.

Bud Light has faced falling sales and backlash ever since it partnered with transgender influencer Dylan Mulvaney in April — with some consumers disapproving of the partnership and others critical of Bud Light's subsequent distance from the influencer due to backlash.

Modelo's lead "seemed inevitable for at least the last several months, but the timeline accelerated since Bud Light's trends dramatically worsened in April," Benj Steinman, president of Beer Marketer's Insights, told CNN. "And it happened far faster than most people expected."

Related: Bud Light Launches 'Biggest Summer Campaign Ever' Amid Backlash and a Decline in Sales

However, Modelo wants to make it clear that its dominance isn't a stroke of luck but has always been part of the plan.

Jim Sabia, the executive vice president and managing director of Modelo parent company Constellation Brands' beer division, told CNBC that the company had been planning on taking the top spot by 2025.

"The fact that we became the No. 1 beer in America due to a competitor's moves is not accurate," Sabia told the outlet. "We've planned on becoming the No. 1 beer in America over the next couple of years; it just happened quicker than we anticipated."

Some experts agree that although Bud Light's decline accelerated Modelo's lead, the market has been shifting in this direction for some time.

"This was long a matter of, if not when. These trends have been building for a long time," Bart Watson, chief economist for the Brewers Association, told CNBC. "Modelo has been on a rise and Bud Light's been on a decline as we've seen overall shifts in the beer market in the last 10 years."

Related: Where Anheuser-Busch Went Wrong and How We Can Do Better

Madeline Garfinkle

News Writer

Madeline Garfinkle is a News Writer at Entrepreneur.com. She is a graduate from Syracuse University, and received an MFA from Columbia University. 

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