Corona Premier vs Corona Extra: Which is the Better Beer?

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Corona beer is a legendary brand that has been wise to stay within its beach vibe. The consistency has made Corona Extra one of the top selling Mexican Beer products in the world. Thus, it is no surprise that drinking Corona Extra and the low calorie offering Corona Premier are similar experiences. So, how do you choose between the two while in the beer aisle? We’ll explain why we prefer Corona Extra.

Corona Premier vs Corona Extra Compared

Side by side, Corona Extra and Corona Premier look almost identical. They each have a pale straw color in the classic clear Corona bottle. Take away the labels and caps; most would need help telling them apart. Indeed, Corona’s goal may be to emulate Corona Extra in Premier, save for one crucial aspect that is naked to the trained eye: calories.


Corona Premier’s introduction in 2018 was Corona’s first brand extension in 29 years. In 1989 the launch of Corona Light was meant to leverage the growing popularity of light beers like Miller Lite, Coors Light, and Bud Light. Premier’s launch was also reactionary to the success of Michelob Ultra, a new type of light beer marketed to beer lovers with an active lifestyle.

Beer Classification (Type of Beer)

Corona Extra is an international pale lager by the Beer Judge Certification Program. This style resembles the American Lager category with more hop bitterness and taste. Though many international pale lagers are all-malt beers, Corona Extra adds corn to the beer to help increase the crisp, refreshing taste, making it a preferred summertime and beach beer. The classic Mexican lager beer, which you call Corona Extra, also fits this category.

Corona Premier fits into the American Lager Category with its subtle taste profile and dominant effervescence. The creation of Premier was more to compete on a price point rather than in a particular style category. Corona Premier will occupy a higher price point than other light lager styles, namely sub-premium brands like Busch Light and Keystone Light.


All of the Corona beers have a pale appearance. Thus, Corona Extra and Premier are similar in appearance. Corona Extra is yellow to light gold, whereas Corona Premier is a slightly lighter version of yellow straw. While neither beer has a prolonged head, Corona Premier’s foam was the most fleeting. 

Both beers are lagers and can be expected to be very clear due to filtering and extended storage. 


While they look the same, Corona Extra and Corona Premier smell different. Corona Extra is the hoppier of the two, with fresh cut grass light-struck skunk odor. Corona Premier could be described as more malt-forward, though this is relative to similar-smelling beers. Still, the beer had lightly toasted malt notes that were a pleasant change from the absence of beer ingredient aromas in other light beers. I did not detect hops in my sample of Corona Premier. 


A beer’s taste is complex. The combination of beer ingredients can yield hundreds, if not thousands, of different tastes. The combinations of these ingredients are why there are so many beer styles today, each with varying intensity levels from the recipe. 

In the case of Corona Extra and Corona Premier, the flavors these beers showcase are subtle but no less enjoyable. Extra has a neutral malt flavor, akin to a gluten-free cracker or flour, and contributes to a smooth taste. The malt creates a wide-open canvas for grassy and floral hop character to shine. The beer’s flavor is balanced with moderate hop bitterness and light malt sweetness.

By contrast, the taste of Corona Premier is dominated by one of beer’s by-products, carbonation. While the beer retains the lightly toasted malt character mentioned in its aroma, and is void of hops or residual sweetness. Instead, they hold an acidity. 

Acidity can range from acrid and off-putting to light and bright. Corona Premier’s Acidity was somewhere in the middle. It was not harsh, but I don’t think it added anything to the beer other than filling the void where actual beer flavor could reside.  


Mouthfeel is best described by the weight and textures the beer lends to the drinking experience. It calls on the beer drinker’s sense of touch to experience the beer. A beer can be light to heavy on the palate while also being silky smooth, piquant, and astringent. 

When Corona Extra is cold, the beer has a very thin, watery body. As the beer warms, the beer opens up and becomes heavier on the palate. Most beers are described as medium body, which is true for Extra.

Many light beers get knocked out for needing more body, but the Corona Premier version was a medium-bodied beer. This was undoubtedly helped by a high level of prickly carbonation, which contributes to a crisp and clean finish.

Calories and Nutritional Information

While their taste profiles are slightly different, the real difference between Corona Extra and Corona Premier is in their calorie comparisons. Regular beers have around 150 calories. Corona Extra has 148 calories (more info here) and 1.2 grams of protein. 

Corona Premier is a light beer with a mere 90 calories and 2.6 grams of carbohydrates (more info here). Most light lagers have between 90 and 100 calories making Corona Premier near the bottom of light lagers as far as calories are concerned.  

Alcohol Content (Alcohol by Volume or ABV)

Despite the difference in calories, the two beers are not much different regarding alcohol content. Corona Extra has 4.6 percent alcohol by volume, while Corona Premier clocks in at 4%. The average beer is around four to five percent alcohol by volume. 

Brewing Process And Ingredients

The two beers have similar ingredients. Each is brewed with malted barley, unmalted cereals like corn, hops, water, and lager yeast. 

The main difference in brewing is that lagers ferment at cooler temperatures, and fermentation takes more time than ales. The result is a smoother tasting beer.

The malt barley is crushed and combined with hot water. This combination activates enzymes in the malt that convert starches into sugars. It is the sugar that will fuel the yeast, later during fermentation, to create beer. 

Once the conversions have concluded the sugary liquid is separated from the malt husks and transferred to the kettle to boil. From there the liquid is cooled and inoculated with yeast to commence the fermentation process. Lager fermentation can last several weeks at cold temperatures. After which the beer is conditioned and packaged.  

Food Pairings

One of the critical tips for pairing beer and food is to match intensities. Specifically, match these lightly flavored beers with foods that don’t have bold, robust, or heavier flavor. A light beer like Corona Premier and even Corona Extra can easily be lost in a heavy sauce or rich meats.

Instead, look to pair these beers with light meats like chicken or shellfish. A butter sauce will play well with the carbonation and cracker malt character. Don’t discount green salads with a bright vinaigrette as another great option. As always, pairings are deeply dependent on personal taste, so try these beers with your favorite foods to see which combinations you like best.  

Would Suit?

These two beers have been hugely successful in expanding beyond their target market. No longer is Corona simply for the beach or Mexican food dinner. They’re for beer noobs and experienced drinkers alike who can appreciate these light lagers and their subtle nuances captured in a clear glass bottle or slender can. 

What Do Other People Think about Both Beers?

In today’s digital world, did you really drink the beer if you didn’t review it? Here’s what others thought of these two beers.

ReviewerCorona ExtraCorona Premier
Untappd3.1 out of 52.9 out of 5
Rate Beer1.73 out of 52.76 out of 5
Influenster4.54 out of 54.61 out of 5
Beer Advocate57 (awful)65 (poor)

Our verdict: Corona Extra or Corona Premier?

Both beers are well made and would be perfect in a variety of situations, especially when the weather is warm and the sun is shining. The Corona brand has got the market on Beach parties and BBQs corners. 

Corona Premier was created to compete with Michelob Ultra. It can hold its own. The low carb and low calories quencher is an easy substitute on the golf course, complete with the same thin can. Corona Extra appeals to a broader base. The beer, well, tastes like beer. And compared to Premier, it simply tastes. 

Extra is a mass-produced beer that still showcases identifiable beer ingredients. In this case, we’d prefer Corona Extra over Corona Premier in practically all situations where the two may be available. 

Other Corona Beers to try include:


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Andy Sparhawk is an avid beer lover and the former editor-in-chief for Andy is the lead writer for The Beer Babe and lives in Westminster, Colorado, with his family. As beer enthusiast and experienced beer judge, he loves sharing his experiences with The Beer Babe's dedicated audience of beer enthusiasts.