Anheuser-Busch InBev revealed Friday (Dec. 10) that it is discontinuing its Travis Scott-backed hard seltzer brand, Cacti, less than nine months after the product first went on sale.
“After careful evaluation, we have decided to stop all production and brand development of CACTI Agave Spiked Seltzer,” said an Anheuser-Busch InBev spokesperson in a statement. “We believe brand fans will understand and respect this decision.”
The discontinuation comes a little over a month after 10 people died and hundreds more were injured in a crowd crush that occurred during Scott’s performance at the Astroworld festival in Houston, Texas, on Nov. 5. An Anheuser-Busch representative would not confirm whether the discontinuation was related to what happened at the festival, but a spokesperson for Scott tells Billboard the decision was a mutual one, noting that the deal between the two parties expired on Nov. 30 and that Scott chose not to re-up in light of the tragedy.
“Travis was clear in his interview [with Charlamagne the God] that he is not focused on business right now and his priority is helping his community and fans heal,” said the spokesperson. “CACTI asked AB Inbev to inform their wholesalers there will not be product at this time.”
This is the second major brand deal for Scott to fall through since the Astroworld catastrophe unfolded last month. On Nov. 15, Nike announced it would postpone the launch of its latest sneaker collaboration with the rapper, the Air Max 1 x Cactus Jack, “out of respect for everyone impacted” by the Nov. 5 incident. The collection had been slated for release sometime in 2022, according to Sneaker News.
Other brands have also made moves to distance themselves from the rapper in the wake of the tragedy. Fortnite maker Epic Games removed Scott’s music emote – a feature that allows players’ avatars to dance to specific songs – from the hugely popular game shortly after the Nov. 5 incident unfolded. General Mills, which partnered with Scott on a custom Reese’s Puffs cereal box in 2019, has also said it has “no new plans” to collaborate with him.
While the Cacti hard seltzer brand sold out in a 12-hour period upon launching in mid-March, according to Beer Business Daily – one of the first publications to report Anheuser-Busch’s decision – sales had “petered out significantly” more recently, as reported by AdAge.
Since Cacti’s launch, Scott had served as an eager brand ambassador, plugging the drink on his social media channels, in TV commercials and in the music video for his 2020 single “Franchise.”
Nearly 2,800 Astroworld attendees have filed legal claims against Scott, concert promoter Live Nation and many others behind the festival, accusing them of legal negligence in how they planned the event and in the actions they took the night of Nov. 5. The cases, which will soon be consolidated into one giant action, are seeking billions of dollars in damages and could continue for years into the future.
On Thursday, Scott gave his first interview since the tragedy, sitting down with Charlamagne Tha God for a nearly one-hour chat in which he said he didn’t know his event had turned deadly until immediately before authorities hosted a post-festival press conference. “Even after the show, you’re just kinda hearing things, but I didn’t know the exact details until minutes before the press conference,” he said, noting that he never heard fans’ screams for help during the show.