Makers of a Known Carcinogen Just Threw Shade on Corn Farmers

February 4, 2019 02:32 PM

This year’s Super Bowl between the third and fourth best teams in the NFL was a yawner. It did, however, provide some Super Bowl firsts, like the oldest quarterback and oldest coach ever to win the big game, and the first Super Bowl MVP who had been suspended for the first four games of the season for violating the NFL’s performance-enhancing substance policy.

Most of us outside of New England may soon forget the game, but many farmers are likely to long-remember being dissed in a Bud Light commercial. In fact, farmers are pouring out their beer! Well, at least their Bud Light.

The Anheuser-Busch Companies launched an advertising campaign around “Know what’s in your beer.” Bud Light promptly lists those four ingredients: hops, barley, rice, water. Bud Light could have stopped there, but it felt compelled to add: “And no corn syrup.”

Ummm…okay. What about gluten? Is your beer gluten-free? Or, arsenic? Do you add that? No? Well America’s corn farmers are pretty certain your advertising campaign contains a boat-load of B.S.

Want some irony? How about the fact the Anheuser-Busch Companies, LLC is headquartered in St. Louis, which just happens to also be home to the National Corn Growers Association. Just guessing here, but the folks at NCGA might have some relevant information about corn syrup to share with the makers of Bud Light.

More irony? Well, how about the fact Anheuser-Busch, since 2008, has been owned by Anheuser-Busch InBev, a Leuven, Belgium-based company whose CEO is João Mauricio Giffoni de Castro Neves. Yep. A Belgium company hopes to sell Americans beer by disparaging a product of American corn farmers.

This has to be the greatest marketing sleight-of-hand in history. The maker of a known carcinogen (alcohol) is throwing shade on corn syrup.

Corn syrup is made from the starch of corn, and is found in hundreds of foods, including candy. So, just to be clear, binge consumption of corn syrup is not a thing, and there are no known Corn Syrup Anonymous meetings.

This whole dust-up may blow over in a week, and consumption of Bud Light may not waver a whit. But, did I mention farmers are so pissed they are pouring out their beer?!

This is a big deal. Remember a few years ago (2010) ranchers grew so mad at Yellow Tail wine they took to Facebook and Twitter to post videos of themselves pouring out full bottles of chardonnay. That PR fail started when Yellow Tail promised to donate $100,000 to the Humane Society of the U.S. (HSUS), the anti-livestock group that creatively works to end food-animal production.

I won’t personally participate in the great Bud Light pour-off since I don’t own any Bud Light. I much prefer some version of distilled spirits that J.R. Ewing called “bourbon and branch,” his customary drink to celebrate a long day of hookin’ and crookin’.

But I can imagine the Bud Light boycott will be much more successful than the Yellow Tail protest, simply because there are more potential participants. Think about it. When was the last time you saw a cowboy leaning against a stock trailer behind the sale barn drinking a glass of wine?

Related content:

Back to news


Spell Check

Montfort, WI
2/7/2019 01:04 AM

  Sharon, your so full of s..t your eyes are turning brown. Yes let's all quit using Roundup ( which has no residual) and go back to chemicals from the 70"s which had far worse residual effects than Roundup. U are a misinformed f...tard. Just like all the non- GMO craze. The majority of the public thinks it's some nasty Frankenstein process and don't even know what it even is. Dumb! And no this isn't political like some neo- cons want to turn it into.

Lockport, IL
2/4/2019 06:38 PM

  This alleged controversy is just as much of a yawner as the game. I don't recall ABI saying corn syrup was bad, just that Bud Light did not contain any of it. So what? Why am I supposed to get my shorts in a bunch? Maybe not using corn syrup makes their product taste better? I don't know, but this just seems like somebody is trying real hard to be offended. And no, I don't drink Bud Light or any ABI product.

Des Moines, IA
2/5/2019 05:02 PM

  Smart beer drinkers will chose Bud Light. No fatting corn syrup, and most importantly, no cancer causing glyphosate from the farmers Round-up sprayed on all GMO corn fields. Farmers stay quiet about that little bit of info.


Corn College TV Education Series


Get nearly 8 hours of educational video with Farm Journal's top agronomists. Produced in the field and neatly organized by topic, from spring prep to post-harvest. Order now!


Market Data provided by
Brought to you by Beyer