Bud Light and Coors Light are two of the most popular light beers in America. As the top selling beers from beer giants Anheuser-Busch and Molson Coors respectively, these iconic brands have been battling it out for decades.
With their huge marketing budgets and nationwide availability, Bud Light and Coors Light seem to be everywhere. Yet despite their similarities, there are some key differences between these two leading light lagers.
This in-depth review compares Bud Light and Coors Light across a range of factors including taste, ingredients, alcohol content, calories, availability, marketing and more. Read on to find out how they stack up.
Bud Light and Coors Light are the quintessential American light lagers. Crisp, easy-drinking and refreshing, they dominate the light beer market.
Light beers first emerged in the 1960s and surged in popularity through the 70s and 80s as major brewers responded to the demand for lower calorie options. By targeting carb and calorie-conscious drinkers, light beers became ingrained in American culture.
As the top selling light beer in the US, Bud Light outsells other beers by a large margin. However, Coors Light has steadily grown in popularity to become America’s second best-selling light lager.
So what accounts for the rampant success of these iconic light beer brands? Let’s take a detailed look at how Bud Light and Coors Light compare across the key factors:
Head to Head Comparison
As light lagers, Bud Light and Coors Light have distinct but relatively mild flavors. Here’s how they stack up in terms of taste:
Bud Light has a classic American light lager taste. It is known for its mild fruitiness and crisp, clean finish. The flavor profile features subtle notes of malt, grains and hops. It is very light-bodied and refreshing.
Coors Light also has a light, refreshing taste but is considered more watery than Bud Light. It has very mild malty, grainy and corn-like flavors mixed with moderate carbonation and minimal aftertaste. The emphasis is on being clean, crisp and drinkable.
Most beer drinkers agree Bud Light has a bit more distinct flavor while Coors Light has a lighter, more watered-down taste. However, neither has strong or distinctive flavors. For drinkers looking for bolder taste, craft and imported beers are better options.
As popular domestic light lagers, Bud Light and Coors Light have similar ingredients and brewing processes:
Bud Light is brewed with malt barley, rice, water, hops and yeast. It contains no preservatives or artificial flavors. Being a light lager style, Bud Light is fermented longer and cold-filtered for smoothness.
Coors Light is brewed with a mix of Colorado barley, water, hops and yeast. It also contains corn syrup, although Coors emphasizes it uses a high-quality form called corn syrup solids. Like Bud Light, Coors Light is cold-filtered.
So while their ingredient profiles are comparable, Coors Light relies more heavily on corn ingredients while Bud Light uses rice. This contributes to their differing flavors.
One area where Bud Light and Coors Light differ significantly is alcohol content:
- Bud Light has an ABV (alcohol by volume) of 4.2%
- Coors Light has an ABV of 4.2%
This gives Coors Light a slightly higher alcohol content and potency. However, at just around 4% ABV, both are still considered light beers.
When it comes to calories and carbs, Bud Light and Coors Light are quite similar:
- Bud Light has 110 calories and 6.6 grams of carbs per 12oz serving
- Coors Light has 102 calories and 5 grams of carbs per 12oz serving
So Coors Light edges out Bud Light with 8 fewer calories and 1.6 fewer grams of carbs. However, they are both low-calorie light beers.
Price and Availability
Pricing and availability are key factors affecting popularity. Here is how Bud Light vs Coors Light compare:
Bud Light is available nationwide at most bars, liquor stores, supermarkets and convenience stores. As the top selling beer, it has dominant availability. Bud Light is competitively priced at around $6.99 per 6-pack.
Coors Light has slightly less availability than Bud Light but is still widely available coast to coast. Pricing is similar to Bud Light at approximately $6.99 – $7.99 per 6-pack.
So in terms of availability and price, they are on par with each other. The distribution reach of their parent companies Anheuser-Busch and Molson Coors ensures accessibility.
As iconic American light beer brands, Bud Light and Coors Light invest enormous amounts in marketing:
Bud Light has an entire marketing division devoted to promoting the Bud Light brand. Marketing spend averages over $350 million annually. Major campaigns have included Sponsoring NFL, Product placement in movies and TV, Celebrity endorsements, Viral ads and Promotional models (“Bud Light Girls”).
Coors Light sponsors high profile sports properties like NFL, NHL, PGA golf and NASCAR. The long-running “Rocky Mountain Cold” campaign emphasizes its Colorado roots. Spend averages around $250 million per year on TV, digital and print marketing.
This huge marketing investment has succeeded in making both brands top of mind. Bud Light’s early dominance gave it an ongoing advantage that Coors Light battles to overcome.
Health and Nutrition
With drinkers paying more attention to nutrition, here is how they compare:
Bud Light bills itself as the “The Perfect Beer for Removing That Heavy, Bloated Feeling” and contains:
- 110 calories
- 6.6 g carbs
- 0.7 g protein
- 0 g fat
Coors Light is promoted “The World’s Most Refreshing Beer” and contains:
- 102 calories
- 5 g carbs
- <1 g protein
- 0 g fat
So Coors Light edges out with slightly fewer calories and carbs. But essentially, they are both light beers with low calories relative to full strength beers.
Taste Test Showdowns
There have been some interesting taste test matchups between Bud Light and Coors Light:
- In a blind taste test by Business Insider, 51% preferred Bud Light over 49% favoring Coors Light
- The Daily Meal editors ranked Coors Light higher scoring it an overall rating of 75 to Bud Light’s 51
- A poll by Mic.com had Bud Light as the favored beer with 66% of the vote
So taste test results have been fairly mixed in comparing their taste. Preference is split with no clear consensus emerging on which tastes better.
Still have questions about Bud Light and Coors Light? Here are answers to some frequently asked questions:
Is Bud Light or Coors Light more popular?
Bud Light is the top selling beer overall in the US with over double the sales of Coors Light. However, Coors Light has been growing steadily in popularity and is now the second biggest light lager.
Which light beer tastes better?
This is subjective, but Bud Light is considered to have a more distinct flavor profile compared to Coors Light which has a very mild, watery taste. Blind taste test results are split as to preference.
Which is healthier, Bud Light or Coors Light?
Coors Light has 8 fewer calories and 1.6 grams less carbs than Bud Light. So by a slim margin, Coors Light edges out Bud Light in nutrition figures. However, they are both low calorie light beers.
Is Bud Light or Coors Light cheaper where I live?
Bud Light and Coors Light are competitively priced with each other across retailers. Pricing averages $6.99 – $7.99 for a 6-pack with little price difference between them within most markets.
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What beer has the highest ABV content?
Coors Light has a slightly higher ABV at 4.2% versus 4.2% for Bud Light. However, they are both still considered light lagers with relatively low alcohol content.
Which brand spends more on marketing?
Bud Light has the biggest marketing budget at over $350 million spent annually. Coors Light also spends heavily at around $250 million per year promoting the brand.
The Verdict: Which is the Better Light Beer?
So in this battle between the two beer giants, who comes out on top – Bud Light or Coors Light?
The truth is, there is no clear winner. Drinkers remain divided as to preference and both continue selling very well. However, looking across all the key comparison points, a few things stand out:
- Bud Light has the more distinct and flavorful taste profile compared to the very mild Coors Light
- Coors Light has a slight edge in calories, carbs and alcohol content by volume
- Bud Light remains the dominant brand with far greater sales and availability
- Coors Light has been gaining ground in recent years as the #2 light lager
Overall, Bud Light retains its position as America’s top selling light beer by quite a margin over Coors Light. Anheuser-Busch’s early dominance, smart marketing and broad distribution have built an entrenched following across the US.
However, Coors Light continues making significant headway as it converts more drinkers to its incredibly light, crisp, clean taste. Its lower calories and carbs also appeal to calorie-conscious beer lovers.
While the jury is still out on taste preference, for most American drinkers, it’s tough to go past the familiar, refreshing flavors of either Bud Light or Coors Light. These two iconic brands look set to continue dominating the light beer landscape into the future.
Bud Light and Coors Light are both classic American light lagers with nationwide availability and popularity. While Bud Light maintains a commanding overall lead in sales, Coors Light has risen to become the #2 light beer through effective marketing and promotion of its signature light, refreshing flavor.
Ultimately, personal taste preference rules when deciding between these two beer titans. But whether you’re a long-time Bud Light loyalist or a Coors Light convert, these easy-drinking light beers are here to quench your thirst for the foreseeable future!