The Big Beer Corn Syrup Wars Continue

A Bud Light Super Bowl ad intended to shame its competitors for brewing their beer with corn syrup has ignited all kinds of controversy and given consumers a crash course on brewing at the same time.

On Super Bowl Sunday Bud Light returned to last year’s popular “Dilly, Dilly” medieval kingdom to accuse both Miller Lite and Coors Light of using corn syrup in their beers.

In the commercial Bud Light’s mythical kingdom erroneously receives a GIANT barrel of corn syrup that was not intended for them. And because Bud Light doesn’t use corn syrup in its beer, the kingdom’s subjects embark on a dangerous journey to deliver the enormous barrel to the kingdoms of Miller Lite and Coors Light – because they evidently do.

And although Bud Light’s commercial may not have elicited much more than a  confused chuckle or head-scratch on the part of many light beer consumers, It pissed off MillerCoors (home Miller Lite and Coors Light) mightily, and the push back was almost immediate…

The spot’s corn syrup accusations, though not denied, drew a quick rebuttal from MillerCoors as well as from the National Corn Growers Association.

According to Peter Frost writing for MillerCoors’ Behind the Beer lots of brewers including Sierra Nevada, Russian River use a “corn-derived sugar or corn syrup called dextrose” in certain beers…

“As Anheuser-Busch pointed out in a series of low-performing television spots aired during Sunday’s football game, both Miller Lite and Coors Light use corn-derived sugars during fermentation, which aids in making them light-bodied, easy-drinking beers with reduced calories and carbohydrates. None of these sugars are in the final product.”

Frost goes on to correctly point out that Bud Light “uses the same trick,” only they substitute fermentable rice rather than the corn derivative to create a similar effect…

And the reverberations that began with Bud Light’s increasingly infamous 60-second shaming effort continue to, well, reverberate…

On Tuesday MillerCoors ran a full-page ad in the New York Times championing its use of corn syrup, adding in a not so subtle nod to the National Corn Growers Association, that it was sourced from “America’s heartland.”

 

As the Chicago Tribune astutely explains the anti-corn syrup controversy stirred up by Bud Light’s Super Bowl ad comes at a time when Big Beer companies are committing to “greater transparency amid sliding sales of traditional brews”…

“Bud Light, which is made with rice instead of corn, last month debuted new packaging that prominently displays can’t-miss nutrition and ingredient information.”

 “Miller Lite has displayed nutritional information since 2014 and this month plans to launch a QR code on packaging where consumers can get more information about ingredients.”

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