Bud Light vs Budweiser

According to research from Brand Finance, the two most highly valuated beer brands in the US (3rd and 4th in the world) are Budweiser (3rd) and Bud Light (4th). Of course, both of these are products of Anheuser-Busch, and they are of the same ‘Bud’ beer brand, one of them is just the light version. Today, we’re going to discuss the differences between Bud Light and Budweiser, which I may refer to as Bud Heavy.

Bud Light Overview

BeerBud Light
StyleAmerican Style Light Lager
IngredientsMalted Barley, Rice, Water, Hops
Carbs6.6 g
Alc %4.2%
Based on 12 fl oz

Budweiser Overview

StyleAmerican Lager
IngredientsMalted Barley, Rice, Water, Hops
Alc %5%
Based on 12 fl oz
Budweiser calories vs Bud Light


As you can see from the chart, Budweiser and Bud Light have the same ingredients. The primary difference is in calories, carbs, and ABV (alcohol by volume).

Budweiser has 35 more calories 4.2g more carbs, and .8% more alcohol – hence the name Bud Heavy. However, Budweiser isn’t all that much heavier of a beer than Bud Light when you break it down, and it’s certainly lighter than your stouts, porters, IPA’s, etc. that can run up to 200+ calories.

Calorie Breakdown

People make a big deal about calories in a beer, specifically Bud Light vs Budweiser, Coors Banquet vs Coors Light, Busch vs Busch Lite, etc. but as I mentioned, it’s not as big of a difference as it may seem.

Calories come from 3 essential macro nutrients – fats, protein, and carbs. 1 gram of fat is 9 calories, 1 gram of protein is 7 calories, 1 gram of carbs is 4 calories.

However, there is a 4th nutrient that provides calories, but it’s often left out of nutrition lessons because it’s a non-essential nutrient…. Alcohol. 1 gram of alcohol is 7 calories.

Knowing this, let’s check out the calorie breakdown.

Calories by NutrientBud LightBudweiser
Total Calories113.2147.5
Calories from Carbs6.6g x 4 = 26.4 Calories10.6g x 4 = 42.4 Calories
Calories from Protein0.9g x 7 = 6.3 Calories1.3g x 7 = 9.1 Calories
Calories from Fat00
Calories from Alcohol4.2% ABV x 12 fl oz = .50 fl oz of Alcohol
.50 x 23g in an oz of alcohol = 11.5g
11.5 grams of alc x 7 calories = 80.5 Calories
5% x 12 = .6 fl oz
.6 x 23 = 13.8
13.8 x 7 cals = 96 Calories
The numbers have slight variations due to rounding numbers and what not

Bud Light Calories vs Budweiser

If you’re goal here, when throwing back some beers, is to get a buzz going or to get drunk, the calories from the alcohol even out. 5 Budweisers would be the equivalent of 6 Bud Light’s, the alcohol is the same and the calories are the same – of the calories from strictly aclohol.

The true caloric difference between a Budweiser and a Bud Light lays in the carbs. When you look at it that way, there’s really only a ~16 calorie difference between the two beers. Add in the protein and it’s a ~20 calorie difference.


Now, this may be flawed logic if you’re someone who only wants to drink 2 or 3 beers. You’re not looking for a certain level of a buzz, just a couple beers. In that case, yes, you are better off having two Bud Lights vs two Budweisers.

Taste Differences

I’m not going to sit here and act like there’s a huge difference between our domestic lagers. So many of us have very strong opinions about which beer is the best, be it Bud, Miller, Coors, Busch, etc. Yet very little about our opinion is based on actual taste.

I did a blind taste test with 6 American lagers, and I only got one of them right. I was confusing Bud with Miller, Coors with Busch, and I was really just guessing as to what was which.

Of course there are some differences when we talk about a light vs heavy (heavier, still not all that heavy) beer such as Bud Light and Budweiser.

Bud Light does taste a bit more watered down, but that’s because it is lighter, even if by only a little bit. Bud Heavy is more full, but they have an equal crisp, refreshing taste.


Whether or not you have a strong opinion about Bud Light vs Budweiser, it’s tough to really differentiate them. Yeah we have our preferences, but bias aside, there’s not a huge difference – even from a caloric standpoint.

If you’re looking for a buzz, buying heavier, or more alcoholic beer, is the more cost effective strategy, and the caloric difference may not be as big as it seems. Of course, if you’re talking about 2 Bud Light’s vs 2 Bud Heavy’s, then yeah there’s a substantial difference, but that can be chalked up to the higher alcohol percentage and not so much the carbs.

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