Costco's 'Star Of Death' Spells Bad News For Bud Light

It might just be a matter of time before you notice Bud Light beers start disappearing from the shelves of Costco. Recently folks have taken to Twitter and other social media to share pictures of signs displaying Bud Light products at Costco that feature a black asterisk in the top right hand side of the store's price tag. For those in the know, the little symbol — commonly known as the "Costco death star," or "star of death" — usually means that the product in question is discontinued or will no longer be restocked at their locations. 

Many might think that the wholesale giant is taking a political stance amidst conservative and right-wing backlash toward the Anheuser-Busch brand for teaming with transgender actress Dylan Mulvaney. Back in April 2023, Mulvaney shared a partnership between her and Bud Light on Instagram during March Madness. Beer-loving conservatives took offense to the seemingly harmless sponsorship and has since aggressively boycotted the brew. However, Costco's move to possibly halt the sales of this beverage may not be as political as you may think. Let's take a look at why the beer brand may be leaving shelves at Costco.

Poor sales could be the reason Bud Light is leaving Costco

In the past, Costco has taken products off the shelves or given them the "star of death" not for political gain or approval, but simply because the product hasn't been selling units. In 2014, Costco executives got serious backlash from conservatives for removing the book "America: Imagine A World Without Her," by Dinesh D'Souza. Touted as being a company that has Democratic political leanings, Costco CEO Craig Jelinek said via The Columbian that "Costco is not a bookstore. We can't carry every title that our members are interested in reading," further saying "The book was brought in to Costco to sell. It didn't sell well."

With regard to Bud Light, it seems as though Costco could just be following general business practice of not carrying a product that isn't performing well. According to Newsweek, revenue of the popular beer was down 28% when comparing the sales of July 1, 2023 to that of last year. The amount of units selling has dropped 31.2% as well, according to the same data. Bud Light has since tried to change marketing strategies to try to laugh off the ridicule on Twitter and has also released an Anheuser-Busch commercial showcasing the brand's home-grown process. Whether or not the new marketing will result in an uptick in sales remains to be seen.