Ah, Corona Beer! Named after the sun’s corona it is the official beer of summer worldwide. Enjoyed at the beach, while boating, picnicking, BBQing, or at countless Mexican restaurants around the world.
Always served with the iconic lime wedge it is one of the top-selling beers around the world and the number one-selling import beer in the United States of America. Practically as big of a star in the fast and furious movies as Vin Diesel himself, corona beer is likely the most recognized brand of beer in modern history.
The following is a tribute to all things Corona Beer…
Corona Beer History
Corona was first brewed in 1925 as a celebration beer for the 10-year anniversary of Grupo Modelo in Mexico City, Mexico. They packaged it in the now trademark transparent long-neck bottles, which not only gives the beer one of its identifying features but also provides for its well-known skunked flavor.
Ten years later a variation of the original recipe, “Corona Extra” won the title of Mexico’s best-selling beer. It was around this time that Grupo Model also started marketing it as a tropical beach getaway beer.
In 1976 they started exporting Corona beer to the United States which resulted in a massive growth in sales and popularity of the beer. In 1988 Corona beer officially became the number-one-selling imported beer in America. In 1989 Grupo Model came out with a light version of Corona now called Corona Light, which also became a top seller. Early 2000’s they started packaging their beer in cans along with the traditional clear bottles.
In 2013 Anheuser-Busch InBev purchased control of Grupe Modelo, however in order to appease antitrust laws, they had to sell the right to the US market to Constellation Brands; resulting in A-B InBev controlling Corona Beer everywhere else except the USA.
Who Owns Corona?
Anheuser-Busch InBev purchased ownership from the original owner Grupo Modelo in 2013. It was regulated by antitrust regulators that they must sell the United States portion of the business to a company called Constellation. Constellation owns Corona in the USA and Anheuser-Busch owns the rights to it in Mexico and the rest of the world.
Where is Corona Brewed?
No longer is corona beer only brewed in Mexico. A-B Inbev has started brewing it around the world in places like the UK, Brazil, Belgium, and China. The version brewed by Constellation is still brewed in Mexico.
Is Corona Beer?
Yes, Corona is beer. There are two main categories of beer that all beers fall under, either lager or ale. Corona is a lager known as a pale lager or a pilsner. Pilsners are known for being refreshing, crisp, and light-tasting beers. They are the number one manufactured and consumed beer in the world. Unlike traditional pilsners, but more in line with American-style lagers, Corona is brewed using corn and rice as part of its ingredient list, which results in a lighter beer.
Corona Beer Ingredients
Corona like all other beer is brewed with 4 main ingredients, grains, water, hops, and yeast.
Corona also has a few extra ingredients:
Rice and Corn – Although technically also grains they are much less expensive than barley and wheat which allows the brewery to save on costs; they also produce lighter beers vs darker beers that are made fully with barley or wheat.
Ascorbic Acid – Which is Vitamin C and is considered an antioxidant. It is used as a means of preserving the beer for longer periods of time and preventing it from becoming stale or oxidized.
Propylene Glycol Alginate (PGA) – This is also used to help preserve the beer longer, it can also provide for a fuller mouthfeel so the beer does not taste overly light.
Both Ascorbic Acid and PGA are one of the reasons Corona beers can be packaged in transparent bottles versus the typically green or brown bottles which are designed to reduce the negative impacts of light exposure on beer.
Types of Corona Beer
There are 4 main types of corona beer:
- Corona Extra
- Corona Light
- Corona Premier
- Corona Familiar
Let’s quickly take a look at the differences between each of them…
Corona Extra is the flagship beer for this brand and is the version that most people think of when they think of Corona. It is a crisp and light Mexican version of a pale lager or pilsner. It has a sweet but also dry taste, there is a skunky hoppy flavor noticeable as well. It does not have an overly complex flavor profile but overall is considered to be a rather simple, crisp, and refreshing beer meant to be enjoyed on a hot sunny day where a few can be consumed.
Corona Light is Grupo Model’s answer to the light American lagers, whereas Corona extra is their take on European lagers. It is slightly lighter in color having more of a light yellow appearance. Taste wise it is less bitter tasting than extra, but still known for its crisp and refreshing flavor. Being marketed as a light beer it also has a little less alcohol and calories than the extra.
Corona Premier is Corona’s version of the low-calorie, low-carb beer trend that has become widely popular and profitable in recent yeast. The packaging looks noticeably similar to Extra and Light, however it distinguishes itself on its label by displaying that it is just 90 calories per serving and 2.6 grams of carbs.
An interesting fact with all of the beers marketed in this manner they do not tend to advertise that they are light beers, however as soon as you crack the top and take a drink you will quickly realize that it is a very light and thin-tasting beer and lacking in flavor as compared to its predecessor Corona Extra.
In the end, Corona Premier is overall a good tasting low carb beer in comparison to others on the market. It has a refreshing crisp taste but as expected with these types of beers it does taste rather bland and watery. Be sure to include the lime as you will need it to increase the flavor profile.
Corona Familiar is for those who prefer more of a full-bodied beer. Flavor-wise it would have maltier characteristics with more of the flavors from the grains being prominent. Being a lager it still maintains its crisp dry finish. No lime is required for this beer as it does not have the skunky flavor characteristics of Extra, this is primarily due to the fact it is packaged in brown bottles instead of clear bottles which allow UV rays from the sun to penetrate the beer causing those types of off flavors.
Corona Beer Percentage
There are a few beers in the Corona family with varying alcohol content…
Corona Extra Percentage is 4.6% and is marketed as being smooth tasting and refreshing with a balance between heavy European beers and lighter domestic beers.
Corona Light Percentage is 4.0% and is marketed as being a flavorful light beer, with a refreshing flavor and recommended for long days in the sun.
Corona Premier Percentage is 4.0%. The difference between it and Corona Light is it is being marketed as a low-calorie beer for men over 35. It comes in at 90 calories vs 99 and 2.6 grams of carbohydrates vs 5 grams.
Corona Familiar Percentage is 4.8%. Many people claim it is Corona Extra but packaged in brown bottles, which alters the taste and prevents it from having as skunky of a flavor.
Calories in Corona
The calories in corona vary depending on which version you purchase…
- Corona Extra has 148 calories per serving.
- Corona Light has 99 calories per serving.
- Corona Premier has 90 calories per serving.
- Corona Familiar has 156 calories per serving.
Frequently Asked Questions
Why is Corona beer so popular?
There are two reasons it is so popular, the first is that the marketing behind this beer is very good, it presents an image of relaxing on a nice warm beach, under a palm tree with sand under your feet. The message behind it is if you want to relax or need a vacation, have a Corona.
For being a commercial beer, it actually does taste very good. It is refreshing, light, and crisp with a nice aftertaste, add the lime and it creates an extra zing to the flavor.
Is Corona a healthy beer?
There is much debate on the topic of whether beer is healthy for you. It is chock-full of vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants that are healthy, however too much alcohol can have negative impacts on your health.
As for Corona, it is a lighter beer with only 148 calories which is significantly less compared to many of the craft beers on the market. Alcohol wise it is only 4.6% ABV which is also significantly less than many of the beers on the market, so overall when it comes to beers it could be considered one of the more healthy options you have.
Do Coronas get you drunk?
Yes, like all alcoholic beverages if you drink too many you will become intoxicated. It’s not very likely that one beer will get you drunk, however knowing how many beers it takes you to become intoxicated is important if you are concerned.
Additional Corona Beer Reading
P.S. If you brew your own beer or would like to start, be sure to grab your gift of Big Robb’s top 5 favorite beer recipes from his brewpub. Details are on the side of the blog or at the bottom if you are on your phone. Cheers!