If you came here thinking COVID had suddenly adopted a marketing strategy, bad luck. Today, we'll be looking into the life, the times, and the logo of a very different kind of Corona than the one we've been hearing about 24/7 this year. Because before Corona became a virus, it was a beer. And before it was a bad word, it was a good thing. A very good thing, in fact. On a hot day and enjoyed with a wedge of lime stuck in the top, it's as close to heaven as it's possible to get. Unless you don't like beer, of course, in which case... not so much.
The History of Corona
Legend (or maybe just musebycl.io) has it that Corona was birthed shortly after the Mexican revolution in 1925. Its makers were less beer-maestros than they were bakers. Not so strange, really - if there's one group of people who know their way around a bucket of yeast, it's bakers. But these were clearly bakers who knew their stuff - and who had an appetite for quality control. According to the brand, so fine were the ingredients used in those first few casks of Corona, the bakers decided to flaunt them by bottling their beer in clear glass - a tradition that persists to this day.
Corona Finds Its Wings
Despite being first brewed in 1925, It would take several decades before Corona made its way over to the US - at least legally. A few duty-free bottles may have been smuggled through the backdoor before then, but we won't tell if you don't. When bars were finally allowed to start advertising Corona Extra for sale in 1981, lager-lovers rejoiced. And they carried right on rejoicing. Within no time at all, it had earned its place in the record books as the fastest-growing beer in America's history. Fast forward to today, and according to delish.com it's the best-selling imported beer in North America and the fifth best-selling beer overall. The light variety has proved just as popular as the regular stuff: as well as coming out top on the imported light beer leader board, its trailing Corona Extra by just one point as the sixth most popular beer overall. And it's not just the US that's feeling the Corona love. Corona is now available in over 150 countries worldwide and occupies a spot near the top of the larger popularity charts in each one. Apparently, the US still consumes more Corona than most of those countries combined... although whether that's a population thing or an AA thing, it's not for us to say.
The Corona Logo
Let's face it, Corona doesn't sell because of its logo. Not these days, anyway. It sells because it tastes good and makes you feel even better. But before it became everyone's favorite tipple, it was just a regular lager. And if a regular lager has any aspirations beyond selling a few bottles here and there, it needs to be recognizable. People need to know what they've just drunk. They need to be able to spot it in stores, point to its label in bars. If they can't do that, then no matter how delicious the contents, those bottles lining the shelves aren't going anywhere fast. And neither is the brand.
These days, the Corona that's brewed for the US is owned by Constellation Brands, the same company who owns the Modelo and Pacifico beers, Robert Mondavi wines, Svedka vodka, Casa Noble tequila, High West whiskey, and another bunch of brands that we don't have time to list but always find time to drink. In other markets, Corona is produced by Grupo Modelo, a subsidiary of none other than Belgium-based Anheuser-Busch InBev. Now, if there's any company that knows the pulling power of a brand logo, it's AB InBev. We are, after all, talking about the biggest brewer and largest fast-moving consumer goods company in the world. A company that managed to reach $52.3 billion in sales last year alone.
So, if a company like AB InBev decides to leave the logo of one of its biggest sellers untouched, we can take it as read that we're dealing with an effective logo. That doesn't mean it has to be the best logo in the world. It doesn't need to have the most eye-catching graphics or the most arresting visuals. It just needs to be something that resonates as much with customers as it does the brand's identity. And apparently, that exactly what the Corona logo does.
The Corona Logo - Then and Now
The Corona logo is unique. Not so much in its design, but in its longevity. While most brands like to mix things up every now and again, Corona has stuck loyally by its logo for the best part of a century. And why wouldn't it? As logos-world.net notes, Corona’s brand strategy is pitched around the idea of a “beach state of mind.” Opening up a bottle, shoving some lime down its neck, and taking a refreshing glug is meant to conjure up the feeling of being in a tropical paradise. And in fairness, chugging on a cold one is as close to living the dream as most of us get. But we'll take what we're given and be grateful, especially when it comes with such a zippy aftertaste.
As with all good emblems, the brand's strategy is out in force here. With its clean lines, simple graphics, and vibrant colors, the Corona logo has a breezy, summery feel that fits in perfectly with that beach state of mind. Consisting of a bold Gothic font and bearing the inscription “The best beer" (in Spanish, admittedly) under the image of a crown and two mythical griffins, it's an image that's instantly recognizable and that speaks volumes to anyone who knows their lagers.
Interestingly enough, the crown is said to be based on the one worn by Our Lady of Guadalupe at the cathedral of the same name in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico. The griffins, meanwhile, are said to represent strength, courage, leadership, and vigilance. According to some, their depiction on Corona bottles is meant to suggest the contents are worth protecting. Whether you agree with the theory or not, you can't deny that the Corona logo has done a great job of helping transform a simple lager into a worldwide juggernaut.
Written by Lily Wordsmith
Read more posts by Lily Wordsmith