America’s three behemoth beer companies are used to slugging it out via Super Bowl commercials, although in 2019 Bud Light swung below the belt. A series of advertisements outed Miller Lite & Coors Light for using corn syrup to brew their beer—with the fictional king of the Bud Light realm turning up his nose at such a practice.
Naturally the media departments of all three companies took to the internet to yell their particular points of view from the mountain tops of Twitter. Interviews were conducted. Outside groups and individuals weighed in. But seemingly nobody explained—or even asked—is why do Miller Lite & Coors Light brew with corn syrup, anyway?
The answer may lie in the holy grail of light beer: calories.
Beer is made from Grain + Sugar + Water + Yeast + Hops. At some point the yeast stop doing their job of turning sugar into alcohol and go dormant. The sugar molecules that remain undigested by the yeast yield a whole bunch of calories.
This means is that the better brewers are at making yeast consume the entirety of sugar in a brew, then the fewer calories the end product will have. Since yeast are very simple organisms, they can process more molecules of simple-sugars than complex-sugars.
So, if corn syrup (C6H14O7) is a more simple molecule than table sugar (C12H22O11) or whatever Bud Light happens to use, then the corn syrup beers will actually be lighter in calories than Bud Light.
Calories per 12 fluid ounces:
- Bud Light: 110 cal.
- Coors Light: 102 cal.
- Miller Lite: 96 cal.