Natural Light is a reduced-calorie light pilsner brewed by Anheuser-Busch since its introduction on July 31, 1977. Its ingredients are listed as water, barley malt, cereal grains, yeast, and hops. The nutritional facts of one 12 ounce can is 95 calories, 3.2 grams of carbohydrates, 0.7 grams of protein, and 4.2% alcohol by volume.
Originally, the brand formulation had 97 calories, to compete with Miller Lite's 96 calories, and was called Anheuser-Busch Natural Light. The brand was Anheuser-Busch's first widely-distributed light beer, followed by Michelob Light and Bud Light, introduced in 1978 and 1982, respectively. Incidentally, Bud Light's name was also shortened from its original "Budweiser Light." Natural Light was originally priced at Budweiser levels, which has traditionally been considered part of the "premium" priced-segment. The name was later shortened to the current Natural Light, and was re-formulated to have similar taste but slightly fewer calories.
Some television commercials for the brand featured comedian Norm Crosby; another comedian, Bill Saluga, was noted in some of these for his officious character of "Raymond J. Johnson Jr.;" whose tagline was essentially, "Ya doesn't have to call me Johnson." This he would follow with a succession of other names by which others could refer to him. It was Crosby, however, who most customarily mocked the brand's unwieldy name in the said commercials by urging people, "Just say Natural."
Over the years, the brand was also re-priced downward, especially after Budweiser Light was introduced, eventually ending up at its current value pricing. It is commonly consumed by younger adults because of its low and inexpensive price. Natural Light Beer has also been referred to as "Natty Light" and "Unnatural Light."
The magazine Consumer Reports in 2001 published a review of many beers in which Natural Light was ranked as the number two light beer and additionally characterized as one of the "best buys." Additionally, in 2008, Natural Light received a Bronze Medal in the World Beer Cup in the American Style Light-Lager category, and The Wall Street Journal lists it as the fifth largest selling beer in the U.S. In contrast, Natural Light currently maintains an aggregate score of 43 out of 100 (awful) on notable beer rating site BeerAdvocate.com, while being listed as the worst beer in the world by RateBeer.com.
- "Consumer Reports publishes beer reviews". Modern Brewery Age. 23 July 2001. Retrieved 31 July 2009.
- "Anheuser Refreshes Bud Light Campaign". Wall Street Journal. 11 August 2009.
- "Beeradvocate rating Natural Light". beeradvocate.com. 28 May 2011.
- "Ratebeer The Worst Beers in the World". ratebeer.com. 27 December 2012.