When AB InBev aired its Super Bowl commercial for Bud Light criticizing the use of corn syrup in competing products Miller Lite and Coors Light, they might not have foreseen the consequences of this move.
Not only farmers, organized in the National Corn Growers Association have expressed their disappointment (inside.beer 4.2.2019), but also scientists, marketing experts and other brewers have criticized AB InBev.
First of all, scientists point out that only high-fructose corn syrup (HFCS) which is used as an artificial sweetener in the US food industry is under discussion for causing obesity and diabetes epidemics. However, Miller and Coors use for their products not HFCS but normal corn syrup which is considered as widely unsuspicious. In any way corn syrup is not better or worse than rice syrup which is used by AB InBev for Bud Light. Even more, experts points out that none of the demonized sugars end up in the final product because the sugar is turned into alcohol during the fermentation process
Secondly, MillerCoors, producer of Miller Lite and Coors Light, accuses AB InBev of hypocrisy because it uses corn syrup to brew brands including Busch, Natural Light and Stella Artois Cidre, while using HFCS in some varieties of Shock Top ale.
Thirdly, the discussion about brewing ingredients is likely to hurt the whole industry, as consumers keep in mind that beer is brewed from ingredients which may harm your health and stay away from beer or turn to other products.
"What Anheuser-Busch is doing is a weak and desperate attempt that risks setting the beer category back a few years," says Pete Marino, MillerCoors chief public affairs officer. "Attacking an ingredient commonly used in many beers, including many of their own, is crazy."
Jim Koch, CEO of Boston Beer Co, goes even one step beyond. While pointing out that his own flagship brand Samuel Adams uses "100% malted barley" instead of adjuncts, he calls the whole discussion “silly”. “To American craft brewers, this corn vs. rice vs. corn syrup debate is as silly as Dilly Dilly," says Koch and refers to "Dilly Dilly", a well-known nonsense phrase popularized by a television marketing campaign for Bud Light.