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

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Every beer fan recognizes a bottle of Corona. The beer brand’s signature blue script adorning its sleek, familiar bottle is synonymous with beach parties and BBQs.

Over the years, the brand has developed various brand extensions to invite more beer lovers to “Find Their Beach.” In addition to their flagship, Corona Extra, you will find products geared toward the carb and calorie conscious, those looking for a more traditional take on Mexican beers, and a new line of seltzers for younger consumers and those who don’t drink beer. 

In this post, we look at opposite sides of Brand Corona with the low-carb, low-calorie Corona Premier and the stronger Corona Familiar to help you decide which is best for your next fiesta.

Corona Premier vs Corona Familiar

Though Premier and Familiar are part of the Corona brand family, these two beers present some differences. In this beer comparison, we highlight differences in each beer.

Ultimately, these differences help you identify the different customer segments each beer is designed for and marketed towards by helping you make the best beer decision for your own taste. 


One of the most popular beer brands worldwide, and the number one import in the United States, Corona Extra is the flagship brand of the Corona line-up. The beer is brewed by Cerveceria Modelo and owned by Anheuser-Busch Inbev (AB Inbev). Corona Premier and Familiar are brand extensions of Corona Extra, Corona Light, and a series of fruit-flavored seltzers.

Corona Premier was introduced in 2018 as an alternative for beer lovers looking for a beer with fewer carbs and calories, similar to Michelob Ultra and other light beers on the market. The beer is described as “The exceptionally smooth premium light beer experience.”

When launched, Corona premier was the first new corona beer in nearly 30 years. Premier joins other Corona beers produced and distributed by Grupo Modelo, primarily in Mexico, and Constellation Brands in the US.  

Corona Familiar was rebranded in the US as Corona Extra in 2018. The new beer has higher alcohol content and IBUs today, and before 2018 Corona Familiar came in 32-ounce bottles.

Classification (Type of Beer)

The two beers are produced as lagers, but the main difference is the beers’ color. Premier is a light lager designed as a lighter version of Corona Extra, an international pale lager according to the Beer Judge Certification Program’s (BJCP) most recent style guide. Premier will have a pale appearance compared to Familiar, but both would fall into the pale lager category.

International Pale Lager is described as more than American Lagers, like Budweiser, but less hoppy and bitter than German-style Pilsners. The beer is not heavy, and while more robust versions may be reminiscent of a German Helles, it is unlikely most would confuse Premier for a Helles


Corona’s website describes Premier as having a sweet, crisp taste. Hop character will be low with this beer, and the style presents barely enough hop bitterness to be called perfectly balanced with a dry finish. 

Familiar is described as being “Bright, rich, and crisp, with notes of malt and cereal sweetness,” but will not stray too far from the brand identity. The goal of this beer is to still come through as a drinkable Corona, if not a slightly more traditional feel to it.


The aroma for the style will primarily come from malt and adjuncts. Corona lists notes of fruit and honey for the new Corona Premier. While a generic fruit character may be attributed to hops, it seems unlikely for this beer as it uses low hops, is lagered, and is unlikely to undergo dry hopping.

The reference to caramel in the aroma of Corona Familiar could come from toasted malts or artificial coloring. Toasted malts impart a bready, toast-like, nutty, and even caramel aroma. Neither beer nor style allows for a roasty character. Again, fermentation will lend a clean finish from the brewing process and yeast selection.


Packaging for these beers is notable. Corona is famous for its clear bottle, yet, Corona Familiar is packaged in a brown bottle with a gold bottle cap. Corona Premier looks similar to Corona Extra and Corona Light in clear bottles, and the Premier version, as well as all the other beers, is available in aluminum cans.

Once poured, Corona Premier looks like other light lagers; pale, and clear, with a white head that likely won’t last long.


Mouthfeel pertains to the texture and weight a beer has on the palate. If you are unfamiliar with the term, consider the weight of Skim Milk to Whole Milk or Heavy Whipping Cream. The low-fat skim milk feels watery on your mouth compared to the cream. Thus the skim mill has a lower body or mouthfeel compared to the rich, silky, heavier cream. 

Corona Beers has a perceived fuller mouthfeel, with descriptors like honey, malt, and caramel, but will remain on the lower spectrum of beers in general as these styles are really enjoyed in hot climates and warm weather. Using corn as an adjunct also will help limit the mouthfeel for these beers and present a dry finish and a light beer drinking experience.

Calories and Nutritional Information

Low calories are a primary selling point for Corona Premier. It joins Corona Light as a brand offering for beer lovers who count calories and want low carbs in their beer choices. Corona Premier has 90 calories compared to Corona Extra’s 148 calories and Corona Light with 99 calories per 12-ounce serving.

By comparison, Corona Familiar has the most calories per serving with 156 calories. Familiar is only eight calories greater than Corona Extra.

Check here for more information on the calories in each Corona beer variety.

Alcohol Content

Alcohol content makes up a more significant source of calories, so it is no coincidence that these beers with relatively low-calorie count do not have exceptionally high alcohol content. 

Premier clocks in at four percent alcohol by volume and Familiar is slightly higher at 4.8%, relatively average for all beer styles.

Brewing Process And Ingredients

Both of these Corona beers are lagers. Lagers ferment at a cold temperature, in many instances near freezing. Because they are cold-fermenting many lagers they undergo extended cellaring time compared to warm fermenting ales.

However, It is unlikely that a sophisticated brewery like Cerveceria Modelo is allowing these beers to lager for months; large breweries have innovated to speed up fermentation.

Both beers utilize unmalted cereals as adjuncts that lend a drinkability and a pleasantly dry finish. 

Corona uses tetra-hops, a hop extract that is not susceptible to skunking, by removing light-sensitive chemical properties and proves helpful with clear glass bottles.

Food Pairings

Both beers are light and would benefit from the lighter fare. Fish tacos, ceviche, and roasted chicken salad would be great. The cold, carbonated contrasting power of these beers will also be great to cut through BBQ.

Would Suit?

Despite the color difference, these beers are similar. They were created to compete in the international beer market, specifically the ultra-low calorie, light beer market and the Mexican-style amber lager sector dominated by Negro Modelo and Dos Equis. 

You’ll be comfortable with Premier if you’re a Mich Ultra fan. And If you’re looking to try something a bit fuller-bodied, you could give Familiar a try and be happy.

What Do Other People Think about Both Corona Beers?

Beer-focused websites rank Premier and Familiar as average; more broad review sites (Influenster) like them more.

ReviewerCorona PremierCorona Familiar
Untappd2.94 out of 53.28 out of 5
Rate Beer2.77 out of 52.7 out of 5
Influenster4.6 out of 54.6 out of 5
Beer Advocate65 (Poor)70 (Okay)

Our verdict: Corona Premier or Corona Familiar

Wherever you find your beach, you’ll find Corona Premier or Familiar perfectly suitable. The question of choice depends if you’re watching your waistline.  


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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.