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Bud Light, Garth Brooks, and the Country Music Scene’s Brewing Conversation on Inclusivity

It seems the country music scene has cracked open a can of debate on inclusivity, and Bud Light is right at the center of it. This brewing discussion kicked off with an unlikely figure: Kid Rock. His bone to pick? Budweiser’s decision to collaborate with transgender influencer Dylan Mulvaney on a social media promotion aimed at reaching the LGBTQ+ community.

Rock’s fiery response, a video of him literally blasting Bud Light cans with an MP5 submachine gun, not only grabbed headlines but sparked a staggering 20% sales drop for Budweiser’s parent company, Anheuser-Busch.

Unsurprisingly, this controversial event led to a divide in the country music community over whether beer brands should stand for inclusivity. On one side of this debate stands Garth Brooks, one of the most successful country performers of all time, who’s gearing up to open his bar, Friends In Low Places Bar and Honky Tonk, in Nashville. Brooks has assured his fans and patrons that Bud Light will indeed be on the menu.

Brooks’ vision for his bar might raise some eyebrows: he wants it to be the “Chick-fil-A of honky-tonks,” promising a safe, courteous atmosphere where all are welcome – as long as they respect others. But don’t let the Chick-fil-A reference throw you. Despite the fast-food chain’s well-publicized inclusivity struggles, Brooks’ message is clear: his bar will welcome everyone, and those who aren’t tolerant can find other venues on Nashville’s Broadway strip.

A familiar face supporting Brooks’ stance is Brandi Carlile, an alternative country artist who’s not only openly gay but a hugely successful performer in her own right. Her praise for Brooks on Twitter bolsters his effort to break from country music norms and advocate for inclusivity.

Brooks’ vision of unity extends beyond his new bar, as he demonstrated when he performed at President Joe Biden’s inauguration. His message to ABC News at the time? His appearance was not a political statement, but a “statement of unity.” He added, “I might be the only Republican at this place, but it’s about reaching across and loving one another.”

On the other end of the Bud Light debate are country stars like Travis Tritt, who has decided to drop all Anheuser-Busch products from his tour. Other stars have followed suit, blaming the European takeover of Anheuser-Busch for a perceived disconnect with American consumers.

Younger country stars like Jason Isbeall and Zach Bryan are breaking from this sentiment, voicing their support for Bud Light’s inclusivity efforts. Bryan took to Twitter, underscoring the importance of respecting individuality and diversity in America.

As the conversation continues to swirl, one thing is certain: country music isn’t just about tunes and twang. It’s a platform where societal issues can take center stage, offering artists a chance to engage in meaningful discourse with their fans and the world.