The Coors brand is undoubtedly among the top beer brands across the globe. The two biggest beers of the brand are Coors Light and Coors Banquet. They are quite different beers that appeal to different audiences, but people still draw comparisons between the two. Which of these beers is actually the better option for you? Find out here, starting with a concise answer.

While they both use the same ingredients, they are classified differently. Coors Light is a light American lager, while Coors Banquet is a standard American lager. By virtue of this, Coors Light has a lower alcohol content, calorie count, IBU, carbs, and flavor intensity than the more traditional Coors Banquet.

As the answer shows, the beers aren’t the same or even similar. However, answering the question of which is better requires more research into the properties and characteristics of the, which is what we will do here. We will examine the aroma, appearance, flavor, mouthfeel, smell, calories, and alcohol content of the beers. Also, we will compare their history, ingredients, and respective brewing processes. Keep reading!


The official launch of Coors Banquet was in 1873, when the Coors Brewing Company was founded in Golden, Colorado, by Adolph Coors. He had come to the United States five years before, but he had always dreamed of brewing his own beer.

At the time of production, the beer was actually known as Coors Golden Lager. It is believed that Adolph Coors would personally hand cases of the beers to miners in the Clear Greek Canyon, Colorado. These miners would then proceed to drink the beers in banquet halls, eventually causing them to label the beer as “Banquet Beer.”

After this nickname became popular, Coors adopted it officially, renaming their beer Coors Banquet. It is also okay to refer to the beer as Coors Original, as they are the same exact beer. Coors marketers only used the “Original” tag to stimulate nostalgia among beer lovers.

Around a century after the launch of Coors Banquet, American beer drinkers were moving away from the traditional beer style toward light lagers. This was because of the increased sensitization towards consuming fewer calories in that period.

Coors Light obliged to fan pressure for a light beer offering, and in 1978, they debuted Coors Light, gaining the nickname Silver Bullet. As is the trend with other significant brands, Coors Light quickly outstripped Coors Original in sales and popularity.

Coors Light is the second best-selling beer in the United States, with Coors Banquet coming in at number 24.

Beer Classification

The first step of beer classification is as an ale or lager. The basis of this classification is the brewing technique used in manufacturing the beer. Ales use top-fermentation at warm temperatures, while lagers use bottom-fermentation at cold temperatures. Given this, Coors Light and Coors Banquet are classified lagers.

A more precise classification of the beer is necessary, and for this, we will rely on the Beer Judge Certification Program (BJCP) standards. Coors Light is a light American lager because it meets the requirements to be classified as one. These include an International Bitterness Units (IBU) value between 8 and 12, Standard Reference Method (SRM) between 2 and 3, and alcohol by volume (ABV) between 2.8% and 4.2%.

On the other hand, Coors Banquet is a standard American lager. It has an IBU between the required range of 8 to 15, an SRM between 2 and 4, and an ABV between 4.2% and 5.3%.


Coors Banquet is the more flavorful of the two beers and by quite some margin. You can notice fruity banana and barley notes when you drink the beer. An easily-noticeable upfront sweetness accompanies Coors Banquet, although it’s not overpowering.

In contrast, Coors Light is as close to water as you would get in a beer. Of course, light beers are expected to taste lighter than regular beers, but Coors Light takes it to a whole new level. While there is still a mild malty and hay-like taste with Coors Light, it is barely noticeable. You will have no problem telling these two beers apart after one sip.

As you would expect, Coors Banquet is also the more bitter of the two beers, with a slight bitter aftertaste, which is to be expected of a standard lager. However, some drinkers argue that Coors Banquet has a slight sweet aftertaste. Coors Light barely has an aftertaste, but you may notice some sourness while drinking the beer.

When it comes to flavor intensity, Coors Banquet holds the clear lead. In fact, Coors Light has been likened to beer water. So, it all comes down to preference here. If you prefer your beers flavorful, then Coors Banquet is the way to go. However, if you fancy little flavors in a beer, Coors Light will be the better option.


Coors advertises Coors Light advertises itself as the world’s most refreshing beer, and they have a valid point. The beer is watered-down and cleanses the palate well. It also has the right amount of carbonation and will be simply fabulous served cold on a warm day.

Coors Banquet is also refreshing, at least compared to other standard American lagers, although not near the same levels of Coors Light. The beer is crisp and clean too. Both beers may feel a bit sour while drinking, but only Coors Banquet has lingering bitterness.


Coors Banquet has fruity and subtle aroma notes of banana, pear, and corn. You may also notice hints of wet grain. On the other hand, Coors Light smells like corn husk and freshly-cut hay. Practically, you will notice much of a difference between the two when drinking as their aromas are not overwhelming or particularly strong.


Interestingly, Coors Light was not the first time Coors tried their hands with light beer. In the 40s, when light beer was still a foreign concept to many beer makers and drinkers, Coors had plans for a beer lighter in body and calories. However, the company couldn’t see their lighter beer plan through because of the world war.

When Coors Light eventually debuted, it was unsurprisingly lower in body, calories, and carbs than Coors Banquet. According to the company, Coors Light has 102 calories in one can of beer, while Coors Banquet has 147 calories. This is the same trend in their carbs content, with Coors Light having 5g of carbs per beer can, with Coors Banquet more than double that at 11.7g of carbs.

In simple terms, if you are on a low-calorie diet, Coors Light will be the significantly better option for you.

Alcohol Content

This is a measure of how much pure alcohol beer contains, measured in alcohol by volume (ABV). Coors Light is a light American lager and has an ABV of 4.2%, while Coors Banquet is a standard American lager with an ABV of 5%. Therefore, Coors Banquet is the stronger beer, and by quite some margin.

One significance of the ABVs of both beers is their drinkability. Coors Light has more water and less alcohol and is, therefore, the more drinkable beer.


Coors Light and Coors Banquet both have a golden color. However, Coors Banquet has a higher color intensity than Coors Light. You will be able to tell them apart if placed alongside each other.

Brewing Process And Ingredients

Both beers are produced by the same company and use the same basic ingredients: water, lager yeast, hops, and barley malt. They also use corn as an adjunct. While the beers contain the same ingredients, they use them in different proportions.

Coors Banquet contains more calories and carbs, implying that it uses more sugars in brewing than Coors Light. Similarly, Coors Banquet has a higher IBU and a far more bitter taste than Coors Light, which is linked to the amount of hops used in brewing the beers. Both beers use pure water from ancient aquifers, deep lakes, and Rocky Mountain springs to make a more refreshing beer.

What Do People Think About Both Beers?

People often have different views about beers; this is the same with Coors Light and Coors Banquet. We will briefly examine what other beer drinkers think of these beers, which may be a good pointer to which of them is better. The table below contains five popular beer review platforms and their final ratings for these beers.

PlatformCoors LightCoors Banquet
Average Score6.16.4

On average, Coors Banquet is rated higher than Coors Light, and it’s not particularly close either. But what do these ratings really mean? Let’s find out.

The first four platforms on the table are the most experienced beer review platforms on the internet today. They represent the opinions of the more experienced drinkers. Coors Banquet takes two of these platforms, Coors Light takes one, and there’s a tie. This makes sense, too, as older drinkers typically prefer more flavorful, traditional beers over light beers.

The final platform is less experienced than the other four and reflects the views of younger drinkers. Both beers have the same rating on this platform, which is a bit of a surprise to me as most light beers usually excel on this platform. This proves that, even among people who prefer lighter beers, Coors Banquet is still highly rated.

Final Thoughts

Being beers of the same brand, there is always bound to be debate about which of these beers is better. The public platforms considered have crowned Coors Banquet as better, despite Coors Light leading on the sales chart.

There is no definitive answer for the better of the two beers as they have different styles. If you prefer light and refreshing beers, you would love Coors Light. Likewise, if you fancy more traditional beers, Coors Banquet would be the way to go.