Corona is the biggest Mexican beer brand in and around Mexico. They have multiple beer offerings, but the two that stand out to light beer fans are Corona Light and Corona Premier. These beers are very similar in many things, and it is only natural that there would be comparisons between them. Notably, many want to know which is better. Here’s a quick answer to that.
Corona Light and Corona Premier are light American lagers. They are both low in bitterness and alcohol content. However, Corona Premier is lower in calories, making it lighter than Corona Light. Both beers are smooth, refreshing, and very drinkable. Overall, Corona Premier is the more refined beer.
This answer doesn’t tell you all you need about both beers, but the rest of the article will. Here, we will examine both beer’s history, classification, and brewing process. Also, we will consider beer characteristics, like flavor, mouthfeel, smell, calories, alcohol content, and appearance. After all these, we will consider what other people think about the beer and give you our recommendation. Straight into it then!
Cervecería Modelo brewed the first Corona beer, Corona Extra, in 1927 to mark the company’s tenth anniversary. This beer led the revolution against the native Pulque drink that had dominated the drinking habits of many Mexicans.
However, in the 80s, there was a light beer rave. Every major brand was jumping on it and rolling out light beer offerings of their primary product. Corona fans also clamored for a light beer Corona variant without any significant taste alterations to the original.
Grupo Modelo, the beer manufacturer, eventually heeded this call and launched Corona Light in the United States in 1989. This beer was the flag-bearer of the light beer division of Corona until 2018 when the company debuted Corona Premier.
If you want to know what makes Corona Light different from the other varieties, you can read about this here: What Kind Of Beer Is Corona Light? (Explained). We’ll do the same for Corona Premier here: What Kind Of Beer Is Corona Premier? (Explained)
Apparently, the company wanted to try something new and give more light beer choices to their fans. The belief was that the people who grew up with Corona Light would have outgrown the beer. This was further consolidated during Corona Premier’s launch when the company stated that it was suitable for “the mature, sophisticated customer.”
Corona Light and Corona Premier are classified the same way. To start with, they are both lagers, as they are manufactured using bottom-fermenting yeast at cold temperatures.
Also, according to the Beer Judge Certification Program (BJCP), both beers are light American lagers. This is because the beers conform to the standard requirements of bitterness, color intensity, and alcohol by volume.
More precisely, the beers have an IBU between 8 and 12, SRM between 2 and 3, and alcohol content between 2.8% and 4.2%.
Corona Light has a crisp and clean finish. There is a good balance between the hops and malt in this beer. Similar to this is Corona Premier, which is also crisp, clean, and even-bodied. Corona Light and Corona Extra are also similarly refreshing and thirst-quenching beers.
Both beers are flavorful and don’t have any strong bitterness impressions. This should be expected as both beers are light lagers. Theoretically, Corona Premier should be less bitter than Corona Light because it is lighter, but it’s not nearly that straightforward in reality.
You may have difficulty identifying which beer is which in a blind test. In other words, if you took a sip from two cups containing the two beers, it may be tricky to tell them apart. Nonetheless, experienced drinkers may be able to detect the difference in bitterness, with Corona Light being the more bitter beer.
Aside from the slight difference in bitterness, these two beers mirror each other’s flavor profiles. They are both very drinkable and smooth.
Again, due to the similar style of the beers, there is no significant difference in their mouthfeel. Both beers lack traditional beer character and are quite carbonated.
Again, you would expect Corona Premier to be thinner in the mouth than Corona Light, theoretically. However, that’s rarely the case when you drink these beers. They both feel watered down when you take them, and any individual taste disappears once you finish drinking.
Since both beers lack that bitterness “kick” noticed in traditional beers, they go along with many spicy and brightly flavored food.
All this means, in essence, is that it is impossible to tell which beer is better solely off their mouthful and flavor due to the high similarity level.
In terms of aroma, Corona Light and Corona Premier have fruit, honey, and malt notes. However, in reality, it may be difficult to perceive this aroma. This is because both beers don’t have strong, lasting smells.
Even if you can clearly discern the aroma of the beers, you wouldn’t be able to tell them apart in a blind test. Simply put, as far as the scent of the beers goes, there’s no difference.
The primary reason for the light beer craze in the 70s and 80s was a growing trend toward healthier drinking in the United States. People became more concerned with the number of calories they consume. Beer was a highly scrutinized drink since the ones predominantly available then had significant calories.
This then led to beer brands exploring the light beer space. The significant brands started dropping light variants of their beers, and Corona followed suit in 1989 with Corona Light. This beer has 99 calories per 12 fl. oz. serving (one can).
In 2018, Grupo Modelo brought a new light lager offering to the Corona brand, Corona Premier. This beer has 90 calories per 12 fl. oz. serving. Comparing this to Corona Light, you can see that Corona Premier is a lower-calorie and lighter beer.
The same trend holds true when you compare the carbs per can of the beers. Corona Premier has 2.6g of carbohydrates, while Corona Light has 4.8g.
Therefore, if you are looking for low-calorie beer, Corona Premier would be better for you than Corona Light.
Corona Extra and Corona Light are both light beers, meaning they don’t have high alcohol content. Generally, the lighter beer is, the lower its alcohol content. From the calorie and carbs count, Corona Premier is the lighter beer. But this doesn’t reflect in the respective ABVs of the beers.
The brand’s official website shows that both beers have the same ABV of 4.0%. Many beer review bodies have Corona Light with 4.1% ABV and Corona Premier with 4.0%. However, even that difference is marginal and virtually negligible.
By implication, we can confidently conclude that you will experience the same effects when you drink both beers, and that’s regardless of the amount you drink.
Corona beers’ appearance has been a significant selling point for decades. The original beer, Corona Extra, came in clear glass bottles. This move was unprecedented back then, with many doubting the quality of the beer during storage. However, Grupo Modelo did not bulge and kept the clear glass bottle.
The primary purpose of the clear bottle was to show customers the golden hue of Corona beers. Corona Extra has a straw-like yellow color. Likewise, Corona Premier has a straw-like yellow color. You can hardly tell them apart, even when the beers are placed alongside each other. However, Corona Premier seems to be very slightly lighter when viewed very carefully for some time.
The only real distinguishing feature between the two beers is the different labels. In fact, they have the same bottle caps, which is one of the ways to differentiate both beers from Corona Light, the other light beer offering.
Brewing Process And Ingredients
Corona Light and Corona Premier are both lagers, meaning they use bottom-fermenting yeast at cold temperatures to brew beer. What’s more, the beers have the same basic ingredients: water, malted barley, corn, hop, and yeast.
Both beers are vegan-friendly but not suitable for people with gluten sensitivity. This is because of malted barley in them.
Since both are light beer offerings of the same brand, expect the manufacturing process to be more or less the same. However, one difference will be in how the brewing company reduces the calories in Corona Premier.
Usually, brewers cut down the alcohol content of a beer if they want to reduce calories. That is not the case with Corona Premier and Corona Light, as both beers have the same alcohol content.
The other common way is to reduce the carbs they use in manufacturing the beers. Judging from the lower carbs in Corona Premier, this is likely how Grupo Modelo made it a significantly lighter beer than Corona Light.
What Do People Think About Both Beers?
We will tell you which beer we think is better shortly, but first, let’s consider what other people think. It is impossible to scour through hundreds of comments and reviews online, so we will consider what the most popular beer review platforms rate the beers (on a scale of 1 to 10).
|Platform||Corona Premier||Corona Light|
From the table above, Corona Premier is the better rated of the two beers, and it’s not particularly close. Corona Premier wins the battle of the experienced and inexperienced – let me explain.
The first four platforms are among the most reputable in the industry, boasting a world of experience. Corona Premier outperforms Corona Light on all four of these platforms. This show that more experienced drinkers think it is better.
The last platform is relatively inexperienced. It is not as reputable as the preceding four and rates Corona Premier slightly above Corona Light. The inference to draw from this is that average beer drinkers, even though they favor Corona Premier, don’t think the gap between the two is wide.
The ratings of the beer review platforms echo what most people who have taken both beers think – Corona Premier is simply better. Logically, this should be expected as Corona Premier is the more recent of the two beers. This means Grupo Modelo had enough time to review the original’s flaws and improve on it.
The result is a much more refined beer in Corona Premier. Given the promise of the beer, expect it to bear the mantle as the major, if not only, light lager offering of the Corona brand soon.