The Reason We Add Limes To Coronas

If you order a Corona at a bar or restaurant these days, the best-selling Mexican beer will almost certainly come served with a lime wedge placed in the neck of the bottle. You'll also notice limes adorning the beers in all the company's advertisements, including the commercials featuring Snoop Dog and Andy Samberg. So what is the reason behind adding limes to Coronas, and when did this ritual start? The answer, it turns out, is complicated.

There are several theories that have been posited as to why limes always accompany Coronas, including that since Corona bottle caps are prone to rust , the lime can be used to disinfect the rim and rid it of any rust residue. Another proposes that it has to do with Corona's clear bottles, which expose the beer to sunlight and activate bitter acids, giving the beer a skunky taste and scent. In this scenario, the lime's citrusy qualities are used to conceal the odor and make the beer more palatable. A third contending theory is that the lime's aroma is designed to ward off flies from your drinking vessel — a much better option than spraying your Corona with insect repellant.

A tasty addition or marketing scheme?

One origin story of adding limes to Coronas dates back to 1981, when a bartender placed a wager with a friend that adding the garnishing flourish to a bottle of Corona would catch on and become a fad. While this is a possible start of the trend, it's also thought that this was just part of a marketing strategy devised by Corona to lend the beer a more aesthetic appeal.

The topic has been kicked around on the Subreddit r/beer as well, where people have either advocated for one of these various explanations or simply used it as an opportunity to ridicule Corona. One Redditor cited lime's ability as a flavor enhancer. "I mean, a shot of lime juice will taste good in pretty much any simple beer, acid cuts through the bitterness, and in Corona's case it tends to have a bit of funk in its flavor." Another user said adding a lime "takes away that skunk flavor" caused by the clear bottle's exposure to sunlight. Others just bashed Corona's blandness. "Because it has no flavor to begin with," scoffed one commenter. "Because Corona is terrible, that is all," disparaged another contributor. The popular fact-checking website Snopes reached out to Corona to confirm or deny the real reason for adding limes to the beer, but never heard back from the brewing company, so this citrusy trend may remain shrouded in mystery.