<<Light beer is beer that is reduced in alcohol content or in calories, compared to regular beer. The spelling "lite beer" is also commonly used. Light beers may be chosen by beer drinkers who wish to manage their alcohol consumption or their calorie intake. However, these beers are sometimes criticized for being less flavorful than full-strength beers, being "watered down" (whether in perception or in fact), and thus advertising campaigns for light beers generally advertise their retention of flavor.
In Australia, regular beers have approximately 5% ABV; reduced-alcohol beers have 2.2%–3.2%.
In Canada, a reduced-alcohol beer contains 2.6%–4.0% ABV, and an “extra-light” beer contains less than 2.5% ABV.
In Scotland, beers were taxed according to strength in the 19th century. The weakest category, 60/-, was generally under 3.5% ABV.
In the United States, most reduced-alcohol beers, including Bud Light, Coors Light, and Miller Lite have 4.2% ABV. This is a 16% reduction in alcohol compared to beer that has 5% ABV. Also, some establishments are permitted to sell only reduced-alcohol beer. For example, in Colorado, Kansas, Minnesota, Oklahoma, and Utah, beer that is sold in supermarkets and convenience stores must have no more than 3.2% alcohol by weight (4% ABV). This low-alcohol beer is called "low-point beer" or "three-two beer". Minnesota has a full-service alcohol license that is available to retailers. It permits the sale of regular beer, but licenses permitting the sale of 3.2% beers are easier to obtain.
"Light beer" can also refer to beer that has a reduced calorie content, compared to regular beer. Reducing the calorie content of beer is done by a large reduction of its carbohydrate content and a small reduction of its alcohol content. Most beer of this kind is not significantly less intoxicating than regular beer, although Budweiser Select is labelled as having under 3.2% ABW, possibly to permit its sale in localities that have 3.2% beer laws. Beer Advocate suggests it actually contains 2.5% ABV, or 50% of the alcohol in a normal American-style non-light lager.
The calorie content of beers varies over a wide range:
- Bud Light contains 110 calories per 12-ounce serving.
Coors Light contains 102 calories.
Miller Lite contains 96 calories.>>