Corona (the beer) is a product of Grupo Modelo, a Mexican brewing giant (Anheuser-Busch "directly and indirectly" controls 50% of the company according to their website). Grupo Modelo started out in 1925 as "La Cerveceria Modelo," a comparatively small brewery in Mexico City. By 1979 they created an International Division, and pressed hard to export their product to the United States. As of today, they are responsible for 80% of Mexico's total beer exports, and their most popular product, Corona Extra, is currently available in over 150 countries.
Grupo Modelo is responsible for brewing the following Mexican beers, some of which are more popular than others:
Corona Extra, their most popular brand, is reputedly the number-one selling beer in Mexico, as well as the number one imported beer in the US. This clearly contradicts the claims of an above writeup by Inyo, but the information came straight from Corona's website so it's possible they're exaggerating their popularity. Corona Extra is relatively light beer, and tastes pretty bland without a wedge of lime (in my opinion -- some people require salt, also). As of the time this was written, Corona Extra is 81% recommended on epinions (out of 175 reviews), with a four-star average rating. One of the most common complaints is that it's expensive (usually $5.99 a six-pack or more) and tastes unsubstantial or even unpleasantly bitter without a lime. The first time I drank Corona, I went through four bottles without any limes in the vicinity, and found that it tasted worse and worse as I drank. According to their website, Corona Extra contains an average of 148 Calories per bottle, and has an alcohol content of approximately 4.6% (by volume).
Corona Light is only available in the United States. Despite the fact that Corona is very light to begin with, there was (apparently) a market in the US for an even lighter, lower-calorie version. Corona Light contains a mere 105 Calories per bottle, but Corona's website won't disclose the alcohol content. I searched high and low desperately seeking the alcohol percentage, but alas could not find it anywhere. Corona Light is only 61% recommended on epinions (out of 23 reviews), with an average rating of three stars. The biggest complaint is that it's a light version of an already light beer.
Modelo Especial comes in a characteristically "cute" stout, fat bottle, but is also available in a can. It's a pilsner beer, essentially in the same category as Dos Equis Special Lager. Corona's website discloses its caloric content at 145 Calories per 12 ounce serving, but alcohol content is not available; I've seen figures between 4.4% and 6.0%. It's 100% recommended on epinions, but there have only been seven reviews written so far. As of 12/19/01 I've tried this beer, and found it to be most enjoyable. It even tastes good without lime and salt, but is awesome with them. Based on the fact that I felt a buzz after one bottle having eaten a large burrito, I'd have to intuitively say that the alcohol content is between five and six percent.
Negra Modelo comes in a characteristically cute stout bottle also, and is more along the lines of Dos Equis Amber (Grupo Modelo considers it to be in the style of a true Vienna lager). Negra Modelo is more of a full flavored, dark beer, but once again, the most common complaint is that heavy-beer lovers might find it too light. Negra Modelo is 100% recommended on epinions (out of 23 reviews), with an average of rating of four stars. I found it hard to find the alcohol content of this beer as well; one site claims 6.0%, but this is the same site that reports a 6.0 for Modelo Especial, so who knows how reliable that information is. According to Corona's site, one 12 ounce bottle contains 169 Calories.
Pacifico Clara has a colorful, gold label, which is accompanied by a slightly more hoppy, gold taste (compared to Corona, at least). It was first made available in the US in 1985, and is now relatively popular in Canada, Central America and South America, Australia, and Europe. Pacifico was the first Mexican beer I've ever tried with a lime, and I found it to be most delicious. Then again, I had three Fat Tires in me at the time, so my palette was a little distorted and my judgement was perhaps impaired. Pacifico is 94% recommended on epinions (out of 16 reviews), with an average rating of four and half stars. Common complaints are that it isn't as hoppy as it's made out to be, and it's hard to find. Corona's website reports an average of 146 Calories per 12 ounce serving; RateBeer.com discloses an alcoholic content of 4.5%.
If you're concerned with the perils of drinking something made with Mexican water, heed Corona's website, which claims that "All Modelo breweries receive their water from deep wells and it is treated and purified to international industry standards." I've only seen one reviewer who claimed to suffer from diarrhea after drinking a Modelo beer (Pacifico Clara), and I highly doubt the veracity of his claim.
I realize in some ways this is sort of a metanode that might make more sense if it were called "Grupo Modelo." On the other hand, it seems far more likely that people interested in Grupo Modelo would be searching for "Corona." If you think this should be moved, give me a MSG. I debated it for some time and thought corona made the best home.