Unless you are exceedingly familiar with every light beer on the market, the differences may seem negligible. After all, a light beer is a light beer, right?
Bud Light and Natural Light are both light beers; because they use different types of yeast, Bud Light is a light ale while Natty Light is a light lager. Beyond that, the only qualities the two beers share are overall drinkability and an ABV of 4.2%. Natural Light has slightly fewer calories, about half the carbs, and is almost shockingly cheap.
Though you can buy a Bud Light and a Natural Light to compare them it is much easier to read this article! Let’s look at the major differences between the two light beers.
Topics We Cover
Natural Light vs Bud Light comparison overview
Brewed by Anheuser-Busch, 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 low in calories and cheap with a 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.
Another Anheuser-Busch beer, Natural Light has been around since 1977. Like Bud Light, it is another attempt to compete with other light beers such as Miller Lite.
Throughout its time it has progressively reduced its price. Natural Light was originally priced close to Bud Light. Eventually, it reached its current almost legendary low price. It is this low price that earns it as much popularity as it has.
|Comparison||Bud Light||Natural Light|
|Carbs||6.6 grams||3.2 grams|
|Ingredients||Barley, rice, water, yeast, hops||Water, yeast, barley malt, cereal grains, hops|
|Taste||Crisp, light maltiness, carbonation||Hints of sweet corn, light maltiness, slight skunkiness|
|Aroma||Light maltiness||Hint of lemon, light maltiness|
|Popularity (in popular opinion Q3 2022 US)||12th||35th|
|History||First released 1982 as Budweiser Light||First released in 1977 as Anheuser-Busch Natural Light|
What is the difference between Bud Light and Natural Light?
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 Natural Light.
The main differences between Bud Light and Natural Light are:
- Bud Light vs Natural Light calories
- Bud Light vs Natural Light carbs
- Bud Light vs Natural Light alcohol content (ABV)
- Bud Light vs Natural Light ingredients
- Bud Light vs Natural Light 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 Natural Light.
Bud Light is one of the most widely purchased beers in the U.S.
Between its relatively inexpensive cost, easy availability, and downright drinkability, Bud Light has remained popular since its introduction in the ’80s.
While it is generally unpopular among the type of beer drinkers who track and rate their favorite craft beers, it is one of the kings of mass-market appeal.
Calories, carbs, and other nutritional facts
Light beers were introduced as the “good for you” option and come in around 100 calories per 12-ounce can.
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.
Fun fact: a regular Budweiser weighs in at just 145 calories per serving. Choosing the low-calorie option here isn’t going to make much difference unless you’re planning on knocking back most of a 6-pack.
Alcohol Content (ABV)
Like most mass-market beers, Bud Light is brewed with drinkability in mind. Not how good it is to drink, mind you, but how many you can down before calling an Uber.
Each 12-ounce can or bottle of Bud Light has 4.2% alcohol by volume (ABV).
Unless you’re a real lightweight, you can probably handle a couple of these over dinner and still be able to walk a straight line.
While the exact recipe is a closely guarded secret, Anheuser-Busch has released the general ingredient list for its most popular beer.
Bud Light is brewed with 4 ingredients: water, barley, hops, and rice. Yeast is also used in the brewing process but is not listed in the ingredients.
The type of hops, the strain of yeast, the style of malt, or other specifics of the recipe aren’t released to the public but have a large impact on the end result.
Taste, flavors, and aroma
Bud Light is one of the most widely drunk beers in the world, but you’d be hard-pressed to find someone who can tell you what it tastes like beyond “beer” or “cold beer.”
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 the metallic quality.
Let’s face it: one of the great things about mass-market beers is that you can get a load of them for cheap, especially compared to specialty or craft beers.
A 6-pack of Bud Light costs roughly 10 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
While it may not win awards in the taste category, Bud Light is certainly likely to win the crown in the popularity contest.
According to YouGovAmerica, Bud Light is the 12th 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.
Budweiser brewed its first beer in 1876, but after a century, modern interests started to turn toward a lighter, more refreshing beverage style.
In 1982 Bud Light was first sold as Budweiser Light. In 1984 it was rebranded Bud Light. This new beer had fewer calories and a lower ABV and IBU than its predecessor.
Bud Light and Miller Lite have been feuding since 1985 via marketing, other beers by the two breweries, and legal battles.
Natural Light is a staple of frat houses everywhere because it’s just about the cheapest thing you can buy that’ll get you buzzed without making you go blind.
Natural Light – often called Natty Light – is a light lager with a couple of filler ingredients that aren’t typically found in beer, including cereal grains. Until recently, it also included high fructose corn syrup.
Let’s face it – Natty Light may not actually be good, but it gets the job done.
Calories, carbs, and other nutrition facts
One hundred calories per serving seems to be the unspoken rule of being low-calorie, although some light beers exceed that just a bit. On the other hand, Natural Light scrapes in just under that goal.
A 12-ounce Natural Light has 95 calories, 3.2 grams of carbs, 0 grams of fat, and 0.7 grams of protein.
These numbers are estimates and change slightly from batch to batch.
Alcohol Content (ABV)
Yeah, this is what we’re here for.
Each 12-ounce can of Natural Light has 4.2% alcohol by volume (ABV).
While there may be true devotees out there, it’s pretty likely that most lovers of this beer are here for the amount of alcohol that can be purchased per buck.
If you’re wondering how Natural Light manages to consistently price itself below its competitors, it’s because of the ingredient list, specifically the filler ingredients.
Anheuser-Busch brews Natural Light with water, yeast, barley malt, cereal grains, and hops.
The exact recipe is a secret. Older brews contained corn syrup.
Taste, flavors, and aroma
Natural Light often has a faint skunkiness; however, this is not one of the advertised flavor notes.
Natural Light tastes faintly of sweet corn and malty flavors. The aroma is similar to the taste, with bready notes and a hint of lemon. It is best served cold.
When drunk from a can, there will often be metallic notes.
There’s something to be said for a beer that can be bought for less than your favorite diet soda.
Natural light is incredibly cheap at roughly $5.50 per 6-pack. This changes based on location.
There are plenty of other packaging options. Most are much larger than a 6-pack. Natural Light even comes in a 77-pack.
One of the theorized reasons for the cheapness of Natural Light is the cheap ingredients used.
Popularity and sales
Natural Light is rated a 45 (Awful) on BeerAdvocate with a 1.75 out of 5 rating, but what does the overall market have to say?
According to YouGovAmerica, Natural Light is the 35th most popular beer in the US. In 2019, 6.7 million barrels of Natural Light were shipped. This was a 0.7% decrease from the previous year.
Natural Light, or Natty Light, is incredibly popular among college students due to its cheap price.
Released the same year as Star Wars, Natural Light has been around for some time.
It was released just 2 years after Miller Lite. This made it Anheuser-Busch’s first low-calorie light beer.
In 2008, Natural Light won a bronze award at the World Beer Cup. Then in 2011, a can of Natty Light was sent into space by some fans.