Why is there fruit in my beer? We find out...
Go order a Corona. Between you and that beer is the ever-present, never-requested wedge of lime. A limeless Corona is the unicorn nobody is looking for. That tiny slice of green has been Corona’s partner for almost three decades—but why is Corona-with-lime an industry standard?
Parent company Anheuser-Busch has yet to answer that question, but beer-lovers have formed a few theories. One rumor claims a bartender bet his friend he could start a national trend by himself. Other people like to attribute it to gimmicks and marketing. More practically, Coronas are bottled in clear glass as opposed to the darker shades of brown, which filter ultraviolet light and prevent beer spoilage. Some people suggest the clear-bottled Corona pairs with limes to mask the skunk.
The second most popular fruit-and-beer combo is the slice of orange in a pint of Blue Moon. While not as long-lived as the Corona and lime, Blue Moon and its oranges tend to incite more controversy among beer enthusiasts. The controversy exists because Blue Moon markets itself as a craft beer, but its parent company is Molson Coors. One side of the argument says that Blue Moon is taking sales and profit from the smaller craft-brewing companies, while the other side says that Blue Moon is introducing people who drink Miller and Coors to the world of craft beer. Those arguing against Blue Moon tend to say the orange is added as a marketing gimmick. Others say it brings out the hints of orange and coriander. Keith Villa, founder of the Blue Moon Brewery, gives both sides credit in an interview with Australian Brews News. Villa says the orange’s primary purpose is functional. The addition of the orange slice “allows the orange and fruity aromas of the beer to be magnified.” He allows that the secondary, though unintentional purpose of the orange, serves as a “visual indicator of Blue Moon” which “really makes our beer stick out.”
I asked Steve Purdie, head brewer at The Terminal Brewhouse, about what he thought of the fruit-in-beer trend. “I put a lot of work into crafting the beers the way I want them to be enjoyed,” he says. Purdie, a beer purist, says adding fruit to a good beer isn’t necessary, but acknowledges that if limes and oranges make people happy, then limes and oranges it is.