Originally launched by Anheuser-Busch in 1977, Natural Light has been a fixture in the fridges — and on the beer pong tables — of college students for decades. Beloved for its budget-friendly price and light, easy-drinking flavor, the brew continues to win fans seeking a cheap beer to throw back.
But there’s a lot more to the brand than its reputation as a ubiquitously sessionable beverage. Below are nine more facts that you probably didn’t know about the all-American megabrew.
Natural Light Was Anheuser’s First Light Product
Following Miller Brewing Company’s 1975 launch of Miller Lite, a 96-calorie beer that became an immediate hit, the race to create the best low-calorie beer was on. Five years before it launched Bud Light, Anheuser-Busch released Natural Light, a 97-calorie brew to compete with Miller Lite’s success. Today, the beer comes in at just 95 calories.
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A Beer of Many Nicknames
“Natty Light” and “Natty” are its most commonly used monikers, but the beer is sometimes lovingly referred to as “Shore Champagne.” It’s also known by the less adoring “Fratty Light” and “Flatty Light.”
Even After Forty Years, Natty Is Still One of America’s Favorite Beers
While Natty’s sister brands — Bud Light, Budweiser, and Michelob Ultra — have higher numbers of sales based on shipping volume, Natty was the eighth best-selling beer in America in 2018 with 6.7 million barrels sold.
Natty Light Is No Longer Just a Beer
From boozy ice pops and hard seltzer to spiked lemonade, Natty Light is branching out beyond the world of beer with hopes of attracting “beer-reluctant” consumers. As detailed by VinePair, this summer the brand will take its competition to the liquor market with three flavored vodkas.
Natty Light Beat Branson and Bezos to Space
Well, sort of. In 2011, two cans of Natty Light were launched from Earth via “The Aluminum Fullcan,” a helium balloon that travelled to an altitude of 90,000 feet. Since the Kármán line defines the boundary between Earth’s atmosphere and space at roughly 330,000 feet, Natty didn’t technically make it to the cosmos (neither did Bezos nor Branson, for that matter), but it did venture into the “Nattosphere.”
Its Flavor Can Be Polarizing
Even though the website RateBeer has Natty Light in first place as the worst-tasting beer in the world, at the prestigious World Beer Cup in 2008, the brand scored a bronze medal for Best American-Style Light Lager.
It Has Dabbled In the Arts
In early 2021, Natty Light unveiled the world’s most expensive piece of art at New York City’s Grand Central Terminal. The installation, featuring a spiraling whirlwind of diplomas, was called the “Da Vinci of Debt.” Valued at $470 million (beating Da Vinci’s “Salvator Mundi” by about $20 million in price), the exhibit marked the return of Natural Light’s College Debt Relief campaign.
Natty Light Likes to Play Up Its ‘Underdog’ Reputation
When the Washington Nationals baseball team made its first-ever appearance in the World Series in 2019, Natty Light released a limited edition hard seltzer dubbed “Nationals Light” in its honor. The brand compared the team’s unexpected entry in the World Series to its new product Natural Light Seltzer “crash[ing] the seltzer party” earlier that year.
Natty’s Cans Can Fight Crime
As one convenience store clerk in Florida discovered, Natty can prevent theft. A 4-pack of Natural Ice was all it took to scare off a knife-wielding burglar and make the clerk a local hero. After the employee pelted several Natties at the thief, the man fled, dropping his weapon and the stolen money in his haste.