Costco’s price tags can tell you much more than how much a product costs. For example, Costco insiders know that whenever you spot the “death star” asterisk in the upper right corner of a price tag, that means a product won’t be restocked once it’s sold out. And while the death star on a beloved product spells bad news for customers, some have been celebrating the fact that Costco recently added the asterisk of doom to a controversial beverage.
Over the last couple of weeks, several pictures of Bud Light shelves marked with the death star have emerged on social media. This means that select Costco locations are going to stop selling the popular beer in the near future.
Costco rarely explains its reasons for retiring products, but in Bud Light’s case, the move might have something to do with the major controversy plaguing the beer brand. Issues for Bud Light began when it partnered with transgender influencer and activist Dylan Mulvaney several months ago. In April, Mulvaney posted an Instagram video promoting a Bud Light giveaway for March Madness. She also revealed that the brand sent over a personalized Bud Light can with her face on it to celebrate her 365-day milestone of womanhood.
Bud Light and Mulvaney were targeted with intense public backlash ever since the video came out. Conservative commentators and politicians accused Bud Light of becoming too “woke” by partnering with a transgender woman. Critics also launched a major Bud Light boycott that is taking a serious financial toll on the brand. Sales were down 28% during the week ended June 24 compared to the previous year, CBS reported while citing data from beer tracker Bump Williams Consulting. The struggling sales helped Modelo Especial unseat Bud Light as the best-selling beer in the United States in May.
Ever since Costco shoppers started spotting the death star on Bud Light price tags, critics have been celebrating it as a victory in their public battle with the brand. It’s important to note that several warehouses pulling a product off shelves does not mean that the company as a whole is dropping the product. The availability of any Costco product can vary depending on the location.
Costco did not immediately respond to our queries for more details on exactly how many warehouses have given Bud Light the death star recently and why.
The Bud Light boycott is one of several major food controversies to emerge in 2023. Cracker Barrel faced calls for a boycott in early June, after it shared a Facebook post celebrating Pride Month. Additionally, Chick-fil-A faced its own boycott calls in May after a political strategist claimed the chain had just hired a vice president of diversity, equity, and inclusion. That claim turned out to be partially false—Chick-fil-A does have a vice president of diversity, equity, and inclusion (Erick McReynolds), but he’s been in the role since 2021.