Budweiser Select 55: Light on Calories, Taste and Alcohol

Posted on March 25th, 2010

During the advertising blitz of this year’s Superbowl Anheuser-Busch pushed their latest creation, Budweiser Select 55. It’s a 55 calorie light lager that’s clearly a direct challenge to MGD 64, SABMiller’s similar light lager with 64 calories per 12 oz serving. While light beer is certainly nothing new, this tug of war between the two companies is a trend we’re not pleased about.

What a lot of people don’t realize about these super light beers is that they’re not just light in calories (and taste) they’re also light in alcohol. Both Select 55 and MGD 64 are just 2.8% alcohol by volume. That’s low, even by light lager standards. Michelob Ultra, the first ‘super light’ lager at 95 calories  is 4.2%, the same as Bud Light. To get the same amount of alcohol from Select 55 or MGD 64 as Bud Light you’d pretty much have to drink twice as much, all but negating any of the caloric benefits. Without the promise of lower calories is there any reason to drink these beers? let’s face it, if you’re drinking them it’s certainly not for the taste, it’s for the alcohol and the perceived lack of calories. So really, why bother? If you’re looking for a low calorie alcoholic drink you’re really better off drinking a simple cocktail like vodka tonic or something.

If on the other hand you’re interested in drinking beer because you enjoy beer and you enjoy the way it tastes, you should try drinking a real beer that’s brewed for taste not calories. We’re all for healthy living and watching what you eat and drink but as we’ve said before, counting calories when it comes to beer just doesn’t make sense. Is anyone really concerned about the 9 calories you save by drinking Select 55 over MGD 64? Despite the suggestions of Anheser-Busch and SabMiller, quality beer doesn’t have that many more calories than light beer. Although Guinness is sometimes referred to as “liquid bread” due to its perceived heaviness, it only has 17 more calories per serving than Bud Light. Hopefully this race for the lightest beer possible will fade away like the silly trend it is, but in the meantime take a stand for real beer that’s made for taste, not calories and enjoy craft beer.

What do you think of this race for the lowest calorie beer? Let us know in the comments or on twitter.

  • Excellent.

  • Cal

    I guees that makes sense about the alcohol content and the calories. The higher the proof or percentage then the higher the calories. Check out this drink that has around 65 calories. Plus the lady making them is hot! http://www.lowcalhq.com/slim-and-sexy/

  • Sarah

    Actually a vodka tonic has a pretty significant number of calories: 50-100 in a shot of vodka and tonic has nearly as many calories and as much sugar as Coke. My brother swears by diet tonic but it tastes funny to me.

  • Cal

    club soda, not tonic. But all acohol has calories in it. around 60-70 perdrink is pretty good

  • Pingback: The Myth of Beer Bellies – Beeriety()

  • Mike Higdon

    Honestly the calories thing is stupid to me. It's a cheap attempt to get the female market they've shirked and degraded for so many years. It's another image thing. If you're holding an MGD 64 or Bud Light 55 at a party, it's supposed to make you look thoughtful about your health.
    But that fact is, beer is already healthy because of its ingredients. I suspect craft beers are healthier because their higher quantity of vitamins and other ingredients.
    And anyway, at the kind of parties Bud and Coors try to position themselves in, 70% (anecdotal numbers) of beers don't get finished anyway. People will hold their red cups or bottles to look cool but won't finish them once they heat up from their hand.

  • kinglouie

    For the many folks who have to watch the CALORIES, SODIUM and CARBS for health reasons this beer is the best thing going if you like a cold beer for reasons other than getting drunk.

  • Hi, 

    Nice article and guys your site is too good guys………………………

  • Jim Stallings

    Hey there!
    While I appreciate your position as drinking beer for the flavor first and foremost there are obviously other compelling reasons to drink light alcohol beers or there wouldn’t be such huge sales of these products.
    I’ll share my own reasons with you for sake of the discussion.
    I like to drink beer a lot and started drinking Budweiser in 1969. A tour in Germany courtesy of Uncle Sam exposed me to truly different beer cultures and a lot of different beers. (BTW It is true that the Germans do not export their best beer.) I came to appreciate that there’s nothing unusual about having a beer anytime of the day, sometimes throughout the day, not just after work like most folks in the US culture.
    Sweet drinks or caffinated drinks don’t do it for me and there are a host of reasons not to use these habitually, while beer has many good qualities and in general is a healthy alternative to these. The downside of too many beers however is intoxication so lower alcohol content makes sense to me and other folks who prefer the taste of beer to just about anything else.
    I recently bought some Select 55 and I like it! It’s not heavy, not sweet and is carbonated lightly like it’s flavor. I can continue to drink in the manner to which I become accustomed and not get overly affected by the alcohol.
    When I want a more flavorful beer, I’ve got them in the refrigerator too, but that is just part of my appreciation for the beverages we call beer. Variety is a good thing my friends!

  • warren tarah

    No one believes me, but I don’t like beer. This one is acceptable.

  • Steve Bowcutt

    There are many aspects of beer that people enjoy–hoppiness, maltiness, crispness. Personally, I like a light, crisp pilsner or lager. That means these ultra-light beers give me a good portion of what I’m looking for in a beer. It may not have the depth of flavor that other darker, higher-calorie options have, and it may have half the ability to give you a buzz, but if a big part of your beer drinking is the crisp, refreshing, light taste, then yes, these do serve a purpose.

  • Martin

    Not everyone is looking for maximum amount of alcohol. Busch 55 is refreshing, crisp, perfect for lunch or midafternoon beer break and a safe trip home.. I find it perfect in taste.

  • Sully4us

    I guess I’ll try it.

  • Les Burel

    If you drink a lot of beer and your consumption of alcohol is beyond reasonable limits, 55 and MGD64 is a good alternative. At some point for some people it’s time to lay off the stuff and these beers offer a compromise.

  • Jeanne Knudson

    I have tried MGD 64 and it doesn’t compare with Select 55. I like the light flavor and am happy that the alcohol is so low. I can drink one of these and drive without feeling I am putting myself and my license at risk.

  • PizzaLinux

    It might have been in 2010 when this article was written, but in 2018 it is a different story. I am not a “chick” and I am not fat. I am also a body builder who likes to be shredded when I work out. Many of us are on the Keto diet which means NO or extremely low carbs to go with the stacks of bacon, eggs, kale, avocados and butter we eat daily. Carbohydrates are not essential for the human diet. We prefer blood red meat and lots of oils and fats. Bud Select 55 needs to be promoted among the health crowd and it will produce bigger sales.

  • Agree. The author didn’t realize that…

  • Annette Martin

    Yes, I like the refreshing taste, especially with a chilled mug and a little salt. Hard liquor does not agree with me and I love this.

  • David

    I drink 55select for it’s o% sugar content. I’m recently diagnosed with diabetes and I like beer and this beer is the one to drink plus the carbs are low especially if you are doing the keto diet.

  • John Stone

    The author should look up how many calories there are on tonic water.