Distraught restaurateur says Bud Light partnership caused ‘the most difficult two weeks’ in his life

A Florida restaurateur reaffirmed his decision to stop selling Bud Light and detailed the “turmoil” Anheuser-Busch wrought by holding a “social knife” over the public’s heads, contrary to his “biblical faith” after he was bluntly asked, “Are you transphobic?”

(Video: Fox Business)

The exchange occurred Tuesday on Fox Business when Grills Seafood Deck and Tiki Bar owner Joe Penovich joined host Stuart Varney on “Varney & Co.” Briefly recapping the businessman’s decision to end sales of Budweiser and Bud Light in response to Anheuser-Busch’s campaign with transgenderist Dylan Mulvaney, Varney asserted accusations would be made against Penovich and so offered him the opportunity to respond to the question, “Are you transphobic?”

“No, certainly not,” he clarified before explaining, “It’s been a terrible week. It’s been, actually a couple of weeks now, probably the most difficult two weeks we’ve ever experienced in our life in this industry.”

The host interjected there and pressed, “Why? Why’s it the most difficult period of your life?”

“You know, Anheuser-Busch, they held a social knife over all of our heads here and they dropped it very irresponsibly,” Penovich contended. “It threw us into turmoil by standing on our biblical faith — it put us at odds with other people that didn’t take that stance, and that brought us into hell on earth.”

As previously reported, the restaurant owner had leveled that the beverage company “knew EXACTLY what you were doing when you launched this campaign. How could you not? ‘Good ole boy beer…meets Dylan Mulvaney? Hmm. Let’s see what that does to the country.’ NOBODY is that stupid.”

He had gone on to make clear with his announcement to end selling Anheuser-Busch products, “To the gay and trans community. We do love you and all of us have close friends or family who are gay and some who are considering this option. There is no judgment in my heart towards you. Life has [dealt] us all a different hand I have no explanation for the pain some have endured. I care about you, and I know it’s been a tough ride for many.”

“But I cannot believe surgically altering a human body is the best form of suicide prevention we have available. Is this really the best option the AMA (American Medical Association) has for a child or young adults? It if is, then it’s time to look somewhere else. But my Biblical faith tells me there is something much deeper and darker than bad medical and psychiatric care,” Penovich added.

As he told Varney, standing by those principles had taken a toll on his 500 employees who were targeted with “slander,” leading some to even resign. Regardless of the toll, Penovich asserted that there would be no coming back for Anheuser-Busch.

“When Bud Light chose to put Dylan Mulvaney on their can, that forever emblazoned that image on our minds…and that’s how marketing works. So, I would forever be a co-marketer, a promoter of that which I do not believe in,” he explained before calling their walk back “pathetic.”

The impact from principled businesses like Penovich’s has resulted in two executives taking leave from Anheuser-Busch along with a reported drop in dollar sales by 17 percent and volume drop by 21 percent by April 15, amounting to a 6.7 percent loss in market share.


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