CHESTER, SD - Bud Light is in a sticky situation with corn growers, after a super bowl ad targeting corn syrup. In the ad, the company boasts it doesn't use corn syrup to brew its beer, unlike its big competitors. It didn't take long for farmers to respond.
The National Corn Growers Association tweeted at Bud Light's parent company, Anheuser-Busch. In the tweet, NCGA said, "America's corn farmers are disappointed in you. Our office is right down the road! We would love to discuss with you the many benefits of corn! Thanks @MillerLight and @CoorsLite for supporting our industry."
Locally, corn producers are reacting. Six generations later, Keith Alverson runs the family farm outside of Chester, South Dakota -- where corn is his bread and butter.
"The blood runs deep as kind of the agriculture and farming for me," Alverson said.
That's why he and other corn producers ran a little hot when they saw this Bud Light ad.
"It kind of felt like a gut punch," Alverson said.
The commercials aired throughout the Super Bowl, and used a medieval theme to poke fun at competitors Miller Lite and Coors Light for using corn syrup to brew their products. Alverson, a past longtime board member of the South Dakota Corn Growers Association, calls this a marketing gimmick that ends up targeting corn producers.
"If you look kind of the beer brewing and fermentation process, it all needs some form of sugar. It just so happens some companies use corn syrup to feed their yeast and others don't," Alverson said.
Alverson says these 30 second ads have a ripple effect that lingers for a long time.
"In the end, it can definitely damage the reputation and then you know if there's any success that comes out of it, other companies follow suit," Alverson said.
Anheuser-Busch has confirmed it contacted NCGA about making amends. A representative of the beer giant emailed the corn farmers' group late Sunday "looking to make it right" and asking for a meeting with farmers. In a state where corn is the bread and butter for a lot of people, Alverson isn't surprised farmers are giving the company an earful about this marketing campaign.