How many times have you reached for a beer in the fridge, only to be disappointed by the dawning realization that the bottle or can contains no Vitamin D? If you’re anything like me, then such disappointment is a daily occurrence that occasionally has you bolting awake at night, drenched in cold sweat. But never fear—AB InBev has your back, with a new, non-alcoholic version of Corona that is choosing to make the crux of its marketing the fact that it’s infused with Vitamin D of all things. Titled Corona Sunbrew 0.0%, the product will somehow attempt to get away with using the exact same 0.0 marketing as category leader Heineken 0.0. Additionally, each bottle will contain “30% of the daily value of vitamin D per 330 mL serving in Canada.”
As the last sentence would suggest, AB InBev is (rather cleverly) launching this product in Canada first, during a time of year when portions of the country get limited sunshine, and thus theoretically limited chances to naturally produce Vitamin D from sunlight. Later in 2022, Sunbrew 0.0% will then expand into the U.K., followed by “key markets across the rest of Europe, South America and Asia.” Curiously, there’s no specific mention of a U.S. release, but we have to assume it will be coming sooner rather than later.
Edit: The lack of a U.S. launch is likely tied to litigation between AB InBev (Grupo Modelo owner) and Constellation Brands, which retains the rights to distribute Corona beers in the U.S.
AB InBev will no doubt be looking forward to taking advantage of multiple trends via Sunbrew 0.0%—first the continuing growth and excitement around the non-alcoholic beer category, which IWSR projects will grow by 31% in the next two years, and secondly the “better for you” imaging of no-and-low alcohol products with added vitamins or minerals. Rather worryingly, they describe Sunbrew 0.0% as being Corona Extra that has had its alcohol “extracted,” before being blended with vitamin D and “natural flavors.” To us, this suggests a fake-flavored version of Corona, although maybe that’s a good thing—after all, the original Corona Extra and Corona Light both performed terribly in our blind tasting tournament of Mexican and Caribbean lagers.
Finally, we would be loathe if we didn’t point out the possible pandemic-related connection here. Sunbrew has been in development for a few years, presumably predating the COVID-19 pandemic, although one has to wonder whether AB InBev is hoping that the vitamin D marketing will help the beer find favor with one more potential demographic: Anti-vaxxers. Vitamin D is among the plethora of supplements and vitamins that anti-vaccine advocates have irresponsibly suggested could help protect or treat people for the coronavirus—a disease that gave the Corona beer brand a PR nightmare at the beginning of the pandemic in 2020. Could this be a way to turn the still-ongoing pandemic back to their advantage?
We will look forward to tasting this vitamin-infused beer whenever it finally makes its way stateside.