Corona beer takes a hit from coronavirus as people are avoiding ‘Corona’ beer, brand image suffers

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The novel coronavirus has an unlikely victim — one of the world’s most popular beers.

Corona has become the subject of memes and videos shared on social media as the toll from the virus climbs worldwide.

Reports of an increase in online searches for “corona beer virus” and “beer coronavirus” show the Mexican beer hasn’t been able to escape the association. The so-called purchase intent among adults in the US has plunged to the lowest in two years, according to data from YouGov Plc.

A surprising 38 percent of beer drinkers insisted that they would not, under any circumstances, buy Corona as the deadly virus spreads across the globe, according to the survey conducted by 5W Public Relations.

“There is no question that Corona beer is suffering because of the coronavirus,” Ronn Torossian, founder of 5WPR, said in a statement.

There is no known similarity between the beer and the virus — except for the name.

But Torossian explained how important the name was to the product’s branding.

“Could one imagine walking into a bar and saying ‘Hey, can I have a Corona?’ or ‘Pass me A Corona,’” he said.

In fact, 14 percent of respondents who said they regularly consume Corona beer admitted in the survey they would not order the beverage in public.

The damage has become more severe in recent days as infections spread. Shares of Corona-maker Constellation Brands Inc. dived 8% this week in New York. Corona’s buzz score — which tracks whether American adults aware of the brand have heard positive or negative things about it — has tumbled to 51 from a high of 75 at the beginning of the year, YouGov said.

Another reason for the drop in purchase intent could be the perception of Corona as a summer beverage associated with beach holidays, YouGov business data journalist Graeme Bruce wrote in an article published Wednesday. It therefore has substantial seasonal fluctuations, he said.

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