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Corona beer: PR Wars

One would hardly argue that Corona beer is one of the most recognizable beer brands in the world. Having a label of golden a crown on each bottle — corona is for "crown" in Latin — made this brand unbelievably known. However, the sounding of the name of the brand and new global virus are pretty the same and leads to questioning whether Corona has got into a branding disaster.

The chances you have heard that sales of Corona beer went into a dive at the beginning of 2020 because purchasers wrongly related the product name with the coronavirus, COVID-19 are high. But is it really so or the conclusions are premature?

Indeed, the coronavirus, or virus COVID-19, has affected 87,137 people around the world as for March 02, 2020, since it was detected in China in December 2019, and aside from being dangerous for health has caused a lot of fears and untrue myths. Connecting Corona beer to the virus is definitely one of them. So let's see if the consumers are really misled with this connection between the virus and beverage?

The hustle has got its peak after 5WPR's survey claiming that 38% of Beer-Drinking Americans Wouldn't Buy Corona Now, hinting consumers got frightened off the beer brand due to confused associations between Corona and coronavirus. But the suggestion "people are panicking so hard that they can relate beer to the coronavirus" appeared to be too provoking. Revealing the results of this phone survey (poll questions, by the way, were not itemized in the press release) agency generates the pattern that people are refusing to drink this exact beer solely due to COVID-19. "There is no question that Corona beer is suffering because of the coronavirus," said Ronn Torossian, Founder, and CEO of 5WPR. "While the brand has claimed that consumers understand there's no linkage between the virus and the beer company, this is a disaster for the Corona brand. After all, what brand wants to be linked to a virus which is killing people worldwide?". Where the accusation about "being linked" is coming from at all?

Beverage alcohol company Constellation Brands, which has Corona in its beer portfolio, on Monday, March 02, released a statement disputing the assumption that epidemiological situation is detrimental for the Mexican beer brand. Vice versa, the company declared that, based on recent IRI retail trends, sales of Corona Extra remain strong, with dollar sales up 5% in the US per the latest 4-week period ended February 16, nearly doubling the 52-week trend for the brand. Moreover, Constellation Brands' president and CEO Bill Newlands noted, that “Our thoughts and prayers go out to those affected by this terrible virus and we hope efforts to more fully contain it gain traction soon. It is extremely unfortunate that recent misinformation about the impact of this virus on our business has been circulating in traditional and social media without further investigation or validation.” By providing the own inverted data, Constellation did a great job of distinguishing myths from truth and defuse the inappropriate talks and proving corporate emotional intelligence at the same time. By the single press release, Constellation Brands managed to dispel numerous prejudices, revealed as by above mentioned PR Agency's survey and by CNN viral tweet. “Sales of Corona remain very strong and we appreciate the continued support from our fans,” Constellation Brands spokesperson Stephanie McGuane told CNN Business. “Our advertising with Corona is consistent with the campaign we have been running for the last 30 years and is based on strong consumer sentiment.”

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