Bud Light is a true American classic; the cobalt blue label can be seen everywhere from ballparks to summer barbecues, ice rinks, golf courses, boat rides, and frat parties. You name the event, and Bud Light is likely to be there — for a good reason.
As the most popular beer in the United States — controlling 13.24 percent of the market share alone — Bud Light has become its own pop culture icon, associated with leisurely drinking without the feeling of being weighed down. While it began as Budweiser’s lower-calorie cousin, the brand itself has become a behemoth of its own, expanding its offerings with four additional flavors, a line of Cheladas, a zero-carb offering, half a dozen hard seltzer variety packs, and more.
Now that you know its breadth, read on for eight more details you should know about Bud Light.
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It Has Been the Best-Selling Beer in the Country for Over 20 Years
Since 2001, Bud Light has been the most popular beer in the United States, shipping out 27.2 million barrels in 2019. In comparison, runner-up Coors Light only shipped 14 million barrels that same year. But while Bud Light may be top dog in the United States, it is only the fourth best-selling beer in the world, following Chinese brands Snow and Tsingtao, and the original “Bud Heavy.”
Despite a Lot of Love, It Still Gets Plenty of Hate
Even though Bud Light is widely drunk across the country, it has many critics. On the popular beer forum and rating site Beer Advocate, Bud Light currently has a rating of 47/100, giving it a ranking of “Awful.”
Bud Light Was Made to Compete With Miller Lite
When Miller Lite was introduced to the market in 1975, it was a massive hit due to a successful marketing campaign taking advantage of America’s burgeoning diet culture craze with the slogan “Great Taste. Less Filling.” To get its own cut of the pie, Budweiser launched Budweiser Light in 1982, shortening the name to Bud Light two years later. Ever since, the two brands have poked fun at one another and bickered, but for the past two decades, Bud Light has continuously sold more.
It Has Four Ingredients. That’s It!
Bud Light has taken such in recent years about how simple its recipe is that it is even emblazoned on its packaging and on its website. In the end, Bud Light — made with just hops, barley, water, and rice — contains 4.2 percent ABV, 6.6 grams of carbs, and 110 calories in every 12-ounce can.
In 2019, Bud Light was caught up in scandal — or #corntroversy — after running a Super Bowl ad that claimed that other light beer brands used corn syrup in their brewing. Miller Lite and Coors Light clapped back, stating that corn syrup is used as a part of the fermentation process and not as a flavoring agent like high-fructose corn syrup — and hypocritically, Anheuser-Busch uses both in several of its products.
Bud Light Loves Sports
It is hard to go to a sporting event in the U.S.without seeing Bud Light for sale. In 2010, the brand made a record-breaking $1 billion deal with the NFL to become the league’s official beer sponsor, around double what MillerCoors had been paying beforehand. In December 2021, Bud Light was renewed as the NFL’s official beer sponsor until the 2026-27 season. Through the years, Bud Light commercials have been highlights of the Super Bowl, introducing pop culture icons like Spuds Mackenzie and the Bud Light Knight. However, at the 2022 Super Bowl, ABI opted not to run Bud Light-specific ads and to instead focus on two of the brand’s newest expansions — Bud Light Seltzer Hard Soda and Bud Light NEXT.
Its Advertisements Have Been Known to Get People Riled Up
In response to the aforementioned 2019 #corntroversy, MillerCoors sued Anheuser-Busch for slander and liability, claiming that Bud Light had spent over $30 million in SuperBowl ads and product packaging on a “false and misleading” campaign. A federal court overturned the hearing in 2020, claiming that “litigation should not be a substitution for competition in the market.”
This wasn’t the only time Bud Light has been sued over “false claims.” In 1994, a man named Richard Overton sued Anheuser-Busch for $10,000, claiming that the brand’s advertising — “featuring Bud Light as the source of fantasies coming to life, fantasies involving tropical settings, and beautiful women and men engaged in unrestricted merriment” — was deceptive because when Overton drank Bud Light, women were not instantly attracted to him. It comes as no surprise that the case was thrown out by the court.
Bud Light’s Seltzer Line Is Expanding Faster Than Ever
In 2019, Bud Light announced its hard seltzer line Bud Light Seltzer, which was released as an original variety pack including four fruit flavors. Following the “diet-focused” ethos of its predecessor, each flavor is 5 percent ABV and clocks in at 100 calories. In the two years since, Bud Light Seltzer has come out with several new seasonal flavor packs, including Lemonade, Ugly Sweater, Out of Office, Retro, Iced Tea, Flannel, and Sour. Bud Light’s offerings also include Bud Light Hard Sodas, a lineup featuring classic soda fountain flavors, and Platinum Seltzer, which boasts an 8 percent ABV. Bud Light Hard Seltzer is currently the third most popular hard seltzer brand in the country, following White Claw and Truly, controlling 9 percent of the market share.
The Future of Bud Light Looks Even Lighter
In January 2022, Bud Light released Bud Light NEXT — the first zero carb beer for ABI — signaling a “new era” for the iconic brand. The new brew is only 80 calories and clocks in at 4 percent ABV. Following along with its predecessor’s recipe, Bud Light NEXT is made with water and rice, but uses malt for its alcohol and natural flavors to round out its flavor. By removing barley and hops, ingredients traditionally used in the beer-making process, NEXT toes the line between beer and hard seltzer.