Corn growers are literally pouring Bud Light down the drain after a Super Bowl ad aired touting the brew’s lack of high fructose corn syrup, which rival Miller Lite and Coors Light use in their formulas.
One Iowa corn grower, farmer Kevin Ross, posted a video of himself on Twitter pouring a can of Bud Light down a sink.
“Bud Light, you’re not standing with corn farmers. We’re not standing with you,” he said, a somber look on his face.
And the chair of the Iowa Corn Growers Association released a statement Monday knocking Anheuser-Busch InBev, which brews Bud and Bud Lite, among others.
“As a family farmer, I am disappointed that Bud Light chose to denigrate corn in their Super Bowl ad as part of a marketing scheme to attack their competition,” said chairman Mark Recker.
“I am proud of the generations of farmers that grow corn that is used in over 4,000 everyday products from corn fed beef to ethanol to bourbon to makeup. Iowa is the number one corn producing state, and the top crop grown in our country,” Recker continued.
“This attack especially hits home at a time when farmers are hurting due to challenging economic conditions. Corn is a homegrown renewable crop that feeds and fuels my family and yours. Please leave us out of the beer wars.”
Adam Collins, a spokesman for MillerCoors, also said the spot fell flat.
“The Bud Light ad says more about their market position than it does about any @MillerCoors products,” Collins tweeted.
“When was the last time ABI used their Super Bowl ad to attack a competing brand? Miller Lite has been gaining share for 17 straight quarters & someone’s feeling the heat!”
MillerCoors also countered that Miller Lite has fewer calories and carbs than Bud Lite.
And Peter Marino, chief communications officer for MillerCoors, said the ad was like the pot calling the kettle black.
“Bud Light uses rice to aid fermentation. We use corn syrup. Interestingly, none of our products use High Fructose Corn Syrup, yet several of ABI’s do. Things that make you go hmmmmm,” he tweeted.
Harry Schuhmacher, editor of Beer Business Daily, said the spat was much ado about nothing because most beers and alcoholic beverages use some form of sugar or carbohydrates in the fermentation process, and that little remains in the finished product.
“Bottom line: Many respectable brewers use a ‘syrup,’ which is just a liquified form of starch for yeast to feast on more quickly, whether it be sugar itself, corn, rice, donuts, whatever. It’s an adjunct and it all gets eaten by yeast which poops out ethanol and CO2,” he tweeted.
And Anheuser-Busch said in a statement that the company “fully supports” corn growers despite the potshot.
“Bud Light’s Super Bowl commercials are only meant to point out a key difference in Bud Light from some other light beers,” it said in a statement.
The ads, by the New York shop Wieden & Kennedy, are set in a “Game of Thrones”-style medieval world Bud Light has used for almost two years.
The first was dubbed “Special Delivery,” and showed a giant wooden barrel marked “Corn syrup” being delivered to the Bud Light kingdom, where it is indignantly declined. The cast then moves the cask to castles that are supposedly overseen by Coors and Miller.
Consumption of high fructose corn syrup in the US began falling at the turn of the century when it was linked to soaring rates of obesity.
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