When Did Corona Extra Come Out? Full Details

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A frosty, clear long neck crowned with a lime. The sound of waves lapping along a shore, palm trees with Christmas lights, and Snoop Dogg telling Andy Sandberg to stick to comedy. Corona Extra is synonymous with its relaxed beach vibes and celebrity promoters in the United States. Globally, the Corona brand is recognized as one of the most successful imports ever. 

Corona Extra was launched in the US in 1979. Since then, it has spread worldwide as a quality beer that captures the essence of carefree beach BBQs. We dive into the origins of Corona Extra and its spin-offs.

Why Was Corona Extra Introduced?

By the time Corona Extra was introduced to US beer drinkers in 1979, Grupo Modelo had been in operation for more than 50 years. The history of Corona starts not as the top selling beer in the world, but instead like other beers Mexican beers with a German origin story. 

Like others around the time, the Mexican brewery brewed German lagers, a product of German immigrants, not unlike the immigration of Germans to the US. As in the United States, these immigrants brought their knowledge of beer to their new homes.

Before the introduction of lagers, the beverage of choice in Mexico was a fermented corn drink known as Pulque. To get local beer drinkers to buy their beer, Grupo Modelo and other breweries selling lagers participated in a smear campaign that vilified Pulque, painting the drink as unsanitary.

This is not unlike how new world brewers destroyed local chicha production throughout Central and South America. 

For better or worse, Mexico began to favor the new beer versus the traditional Pulque. Grupo Modelo’s success snowballed over the following decades, becoming one of two dominant beer makers in the country, competing to serve Mexico’s best selling beers with the likes of Dos Equis and Tecate. 

It was not long until the makers of Corona chose to expand their footprint from Puerto Vallarta and Mexico City north to the US. In 1979, they introduced Corona Extra, a slightly lighter, crisper beer than what beer lovers in Mexico were accustomed to.

The beer’s taste was of lightly toasted malts and a clean, herbal hop character. Soon the beer would expand further to become one of the top selling beers worldwide.   

Today, Corona beer is still made by Grupo Modelo exclusively in Mexico, but the Mexican brewery is owned by Anheuser Busch InBev, where it is a top selling import beer in their portfolio. The beer in the United States continues to be popular but is distributed not by Anheuser Busch but by Constellation Beverage in an attempt by regulators to quell any monopolistic concerns. 

The World’s Best Beach Beer

Corona continues to execute incredibly successful ad campaigns positioning its beers as the essential complement to relaxed beach vibes. The unique shape of the beer bottle, the crown on the bottle caps, and the custom of garnishing the bottles with a lime wedge has imprinted the brand on beer drinkers.

The transparent bottles stick out on shelves and are meant to tell the customer that the beer is a fine quality product with nothing to hide. 

The beer’s flavor is excellent for making a beery bloody mary, a half beer, half clamato juice drink with freshly ground pepper, hot sauce with soy sauce or Worcestershire sauce. 

What Kind of Beer is Corona Extra?

Corona Extra is the ultimate Mexican beer, but the beer is most closely associated with an International Pale Lager in competition. These beers are similar to American pale lagers with fewer adjuncts, higher attenuation, and more hop character.

Corona lists corn as one of its ingredients. 

A detailed beer definition of the category from the BJCP is as follows:

Overall Impression

An International Pale Lager is a highly-attenuated pale lager without strong flavors, typically well-balanced and highly carbonated. Served cold, it is refreshing and thirst-quenching.


Pale straw to gold color. A white, frothy head may not be long-lasting. Very clear.


Low to medium-low malt aroma, which can be grainy-malty or slightly corny-sweet. Hop aroma may range from very low to a medium, spicy, or floral hop presence. While a clean fermentation profile is generally most desirable, low levels of yeast character (such as a light apple fruitiness) are not a fault. A light amount of DMS or corn aroma is not a fault.


Low to moderate levels of grainy-malt flavor with a crisp, dry, well-attenuated finish. The grain character can be neutral or show a light bready-crackery quality or up to moderate corny or malty sweetness. Hop flavor ranges from none to medium levels, often showing a floral, spicy, or herbal character if detected. Hop bitterness at medium-low to medium level. Balance may vary from slightly malty to slightly bitter but is relatively close to even. Neutral aftertaste with light malt and sometimes hop flavors. A light amount of DMS is not a fault.


Light to medium body. Moderately high to highly carbonated can have a slight carbonic bite on the tongue.

Source: https://www.bjcp.org/style/2015/2/2A/international-pale-lager/

What’s the Difference Between Corona Extra and Corona Premier?

A relatively new addition to the Corona portfolio is the premium light beer, Corona Premier. While all Corona beers have similarities, Corona Extra is a full-flavored lager with 148 calories. Corona Premier was likely designed to compete with beers like Michelob Ultra who offer a crisp, refreshing taste with substantially less calories. Corona Premier has only 90 calories and less alcohol (four percent abv compared to Extra’s 4.6%).

What Are Some Similar Beers To Corona Extra?

If you want to try beer similar to Corona Extra, try the other beers in the Corona brand first. Corona beers don’t stray too far away from each other – another reason why their branding can be so tight and compelling. I doubt you’ll ever see Corona stout or IPA.

Other imported beer brands have tried this with limited success. I don’t care if Guinness Blond is the best beer recipe ever conceived. As a beer drinker, I’m just not interested in a light-colored beer offering from them.

Other Corona beer offerings include:

Other International Pale Lagers to seek out:

  • Asahi Super Dry (buy here and get it delivered)
  • Birra Moretti (buy here and get it delivered)
  • Devils Backbone Gold Leaf Lager (buy here and get it delivered)
  • Full Sail Session Premium Lager (buy here and get it delivered)
  • Heineken (buy here and get it delivered)
  • Red Stripe (buy here and get it delivered)
  • Singha (buy here and get it delivered)
  • Landshark Lager (buy here and get it delivered)

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Andy Sparhawk is an avid beer lover and the former editor-in-chief for CraftBeer.com. 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.