Bud Light and Budweiser, what’s the difference? There may be more of a difference than you expect beyond the names.
The differences between Bud Light and Budweiser are found in their nutritional facts, ABV, flavor, and popularity. Budweiser is heavier than Bud Light in nearly every way. Budweiser has more calories, alcohol content, and generally, flavor. They are the same in drinkability, overall light flavors, and are close in price.
Keep reading to learn about what exactly sets Bud Light and Budweiser apart. We’ll go over the ingredients, nutritional facts, flavors, price, and popularity.
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Budweiser vs Bud Light comparison overview
Brewed by Anheuser-Busch, Bud Light and Budweiser are brother beers. Both are kings in the American Adjunct Lager (AAL) world. You can’t go wrong with a Bud in your hand. Although they are great any season, the two Buds are great summer beers. That said, they aren’t identical.
Bud Light is a popular light beer that has been around since 1982. Anheuser-Busch also makes several other styles of Bud Light as well as Budweiser and several other beers. Bud Light is marketed as the ‘healthier’ option.
Bud Light is low in calories and cheap due to its simple recipe. Though it is often dismissed as a bad beer, it can be crisp and refreshing. With its lower ABV, it is easily sessionable.
Budweiser, often called Bud Heavy, is more in every sense. It is more expensive (though only slightly), has a higher ABV, and has a higher calorie count. It is marketed as the “King of Beers, ” an adaptation of another slogan.
Budweiser is brewed with the same basic ingredients as Bud Light. However, the process and specific ingredients are different than Bud Light. In comparison to Bud Light, it is a fuller beer which may have to do with its greater popularity.
|Carbs||6.6 grams||10.6 grams|
|Ingredients||Barley, rice, water, yeast, hops||Barley, rice, water, yeast, hops|
|Taste||Crisp, light maltiness, high carbonation||Crisp, slight bitterness, light malts, medium to high carbonation|
|Aroma||Light maltiness||Light sweet malts|
|Popularity (in popular opinion Q4 2022 US)||10th in the US||6th in the US|
|History||First released 1982 as Budweiser Light||First released in 1876 which is 106 years before Bud Light|
What is the difference between Bud Light and Budweiser?
When it comes to these two beers, there are many factors we can use to compare them. Using the below aspects, let’s break down the differences between Bud Light and Budweiser.
- Alcohol Content (ABV)
- Taste, flavors, and aroma
- Popularity and sales
The first few aspects–calories, carbs, alcohol content, and ingredients – help to determine the objective differences between the recipe and the final product.
Then we can break down why people like one over the other. By covering the taste, flavors, and aromas of the two beers, we can highlight some of the subjective reasons for people’s preferences.
Lastly, we’ll cover the marketing and history of the two beers. That will include the cost, popularity, and sales of Bud Light and Budweiser.
Calories, carbs, and other nutritional facts
A 12-ounce can of Bud Light contains 110 calories, 6.6 grams of carbs, 0.9 grams of protein, and 0 grams of fat.
For context, 100 calories is a tablespoon of peanut butter or an average apple.
Alcohol Content (ABV)
Each 12-ounce can or bottle of Bud Light has 4.2% alcohol by volume (ABV).
Bud Light is brewed with 4 ingredients: water, barley, hops, and rice. Yeast is also used in brewing but is not listed in the ingredients.
The type of hops, the strain of yeast, style of malt, or other specifics of the recipe aren’t released to the public but greatly impact the end result.
Taste, flavors, and aroma
Bud Light tastes of mild breadiness and other malty flavors. There is some light sweetness to accompany the malt flavors. It has a quite carbonated but watery mouthfeel. The aroma is similar to the taste. A light breadiness with a hint of hops.
The beer is overall crisp and light. If you drink it in a can, you will get a bit of metallic quality.
A 6-pack of Bud Light costs roughly 8 dollars. The price will be roughly higher or lower depending on your area. Individual tall cans (25 oz.) cost approximately $2.75.
Bud Light is available in many different quantities. There are 6-packs, 12-packs, 30 racks, and more.
Popularity and sales
According to YouGovAmerica, Bud Light is the 10th most popular beer in the US. In 2020, Anheuser-Busch shipped 26.5 million barrels of Bud Light. This was a 6.5% decrease from the previous year.
In 1982 Bud Light was first sold as Budweiser Light. In 1984 it was rebranded Bud Light. Its release was meant as a way to compete with Miller Lite. As such, the two companies feuded for many years.
This feud has taken the form of commercials, billboards, and many other marketing formats.
Calories, carbs, and other nutrition facts
A 12-ounce can of Budweiser contains 145 calories, 10.6 grams of carbs, 1.3 grams of protein, and 0 grams of fat.
For context, a latte is roughly 150 calories.
Alcohol Content (ABV)
Each 12-ounce can or bottle of Budweiser has 5% alcohol by volume (ABV) in the US.
The ABV of Budweiser is the same in Canada, Thailand, India, and the Netherlands. This ABV is different in several countries, including the U.K., China, and Australia.
Budweiser is brewed with 2-row and 6-row barley malt, water, hops, rice, and yeast despite the fact they do not list it.
Anheuser-Busch does not disclose the exact ingredient list. The only additional information they provide includes generic quality assurances.
Taste, flavors, and aroma
Budweiser’s aroma greets you with light malts and sweet rice. The taste is crisp with faint notes of sweet bready flavors, rice, and a hint of hop bitterness. The finish is quick with some bitterness. The mouthfeel is carbonated and mostly watery.
Compared to Bud Light, there is slightly more flavor in Budweiser. It seems like Budweiser does not rely on heavy carbonation and cold temps quite as much. That said, it is still an AAL where strong flavors are discouraged.
For a more detailed breakdown of what Budweiser tastes like, check out this article.
A 6-pack of 12-ounce Budweiser costs about $9, depending on your area. Tallboys (25 oz) cost about $3, depending on the area.
Budweiser is available in many package sizes. Aside from 6 packs and individual cans, there are 12 packs, 30 packs, and more.
Popularity and sales
According to YouGovAmerica, Budweiser is the 6th most popular beer in the US. In 2021, the Budweiser brand was valued at 16.17 billion U.S. dollars.
Comparatively, Bud Light was valued at 9.37 billion.
Budweiser was first brewed by Anheuser-Busch in 1876 with Carl Conrad–a St. Louis bottler. Since its inception, Budweiser has been a light and easily drinkable beer. As one of AB InBev’s flagship brands, it enjoys extensive marketing.
Since 1907, Anheuser-Busch has been engaged in a legal battle with Budweiser Budvar Brewery. This is because ‘Budweiser’ is not a name unique to Anheuser-Busch. The Budweiser Budvar Brewery has been brewing a beer under that name since roughly 1265.
As a result of this legal battle, Anheuser-Busch can market its beer as Budweiser in North America. Everywhere else, it is marketed as Bud.