History of Corona Beer

Corona — one of the best-selling beers in the US and worldwide

When you see of an image of a beer bottle with a wedge of lime or lemon stuck into its mouth, you automatically know what beer brand it is. Yes, it is Corona beer. Corona Extra and Corona Light are the beer maker’s best sellers, especially in the United States. It is currently one of the top-selling beers worldwide.

The origins of Corona Beer

If you’re curious where Corona Beer originated, this article hopes to give you more historical awareness about your favorite beverage.

Like many of the beer recipes that landed on the Americas, most particularly the United States, Corona’s own unique concoction is of German origin, as most of the brewers at that time were German immigrants. It first came in 1925 as a pilsner beer in Grupo Modelo (Cervecreria Modelo), which was and still is the largest brewery in Mexico.

The following year, Grupo Modelo considered storing the beer in dark-colored bottles in an bid to preserve and improve the beer’s flavor. However, they made the wise decision to put the beer in clear, transparent bottles. These bottles have a particular shape and have become an legendary symbol of the company, and are also the key additions to Corona’s success.

The name “Corona”

It’s been quite unclear how the beer acquired the trademark name “Corona.” One source suggests that Corona got its name, as well as its iconic brand logo, from the Cathedral of Our Lady of Guadalupe in the Mexican coastal city of Puerto Vallarta. It was inspired by the corona (Spanish for “crown”) that she wore.

Another source cites that the name “Corona” was bought in 1985 from Cerveceria Corona from Puerto Rico. The company, which was owned by independent investors, had gone bankrupt due to several reasons, and its assets went into liquidation. The name “Corona” was subsequently put up for auction and two companies bid for it: a group of local non-alcoholic beverage makers along Mexico’s Grupo Modelo, and Cerverceria de Puerto Rico (the current producer of Medalla beer). In 1985, Puerto Rico’s bankruptcy judge decided in favor of the consortium in which Grupo Modelo participated, and the name was finally awarded to the Mexican brewery.

Corona Beer’s improvements and progress

Ten years after its launch, Corona became one of Mexico’s best-selling beers, thanks to its unique, aggressive and innovative marketing strategies. In 1937 the company instigated efforts to market Corona Extra as a fine quality product to distinguish itself from its rival beverage in Mexico called pulque, a native, indigenous alcoholic drink made from the fermented sap (aguamiel) of the agave plant (also called maguey). The campaign proved to be successful but it also caused the steady fall of the pulque’s popularity.

Over the years Corona upped their processing and production of beer, which of course includes advanced pasteurization and refrigeration techniques and continuous improvement in its flavor. The company’s intensive marketing approach has made Corona the Mexican beer.

Soon the United States took notice of Corona, with the majority of American beer drinkers cheering its presence. In 1976, Grupo Modelo began exporting Corona to its neighboring country. Corona Extra quickly became so popular in the US that black markets (such as those in New York and in Denver, Colorado) for Corona Extra thrived.

Corona had always been associated with their iconic clear beer bottles.  In  2009 Corona started offering their light beer version in cans and has since expanded to their full line of beers.

Undisputedly the #1 beer in the United States

In 1989 Corona crossed into the light beer territory by introducing Corona Light, which is now one of the brand’s the best sellers. By the mid-1990s, Corona emerged as the top-selling import beer in the United States, a position it still holds up to the present.

On to the more interesting part of Corona: drinking and enjoying Corona wouldn’t be complete and fun without a wedge of lime or lemon inserted into the bottle’s mouth, to add extra flavor and tartness. This wasn’t the case back then. Not many people know about the reason behind this practice. This was done first in Mexico where drinkers put a wedge of lime (or lemon) into the bottle’s mouth to keep the flies from getting into their beer.

Corona is sold in over 150 countries, with the US gaining the largest and most important share, aside from Mexico, of course.

Now that you’ve learned a little bit more about your favorite beer, you may use it as a good way to impress your friends while you’re all savoring a few good bottles of Corona at a party. ¡Salud!

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