Drinkers Are Confusing Corona Beer With the Coronavirus

No, the popular Mexican beer Corona is not affiliated with the deadly coronavirus that's spreading around the world, and Constellation Brands (NYSE: STZ), which owns the Corona brand in the U.S., told Business Insider "We believe, by and large, that consumers understand there's no linkage between the virus and our business."

But Google search terms would beg to disagree. Since the virus began to take on global proportions in the middle of January, online searches for the phrase " beer coronavirus" surged over 3,200% globally while "corona beer virus" rocketed 2,300%. Similar terms that seemingly link the beer brand and the virus have also risen by hundreds of percent since.

Beer bottles with limes stuck in them

Image source: Getty Images.

Guilt by association

The coronavirus is actually a fairly common one, though the particular strain, known as 2019-nCoV, that has caused several hundred deaths and affected thousands of people this year, is not. Healthcare officials, believe the virus was initially transmitted to humans from animals.

The word "corona" comes from the Latin meaning "crown," and viewed under a microscope, the virus appears to have crown-like spikes.

It's possible the explosion in search terms related to Corona beer and the virus is actually a function of Google's algorithm, which is programmed to push searches based on popular terms. 

With the coronavirus obviously a concern to many, and Constellation Brands Corona beer being one of the few beer brands still enjoying enormous sales growth, it could be a victim of its own success.

While it's probably giving new meaning to the term "going viral," drinkers can rest assured that their favorite beer will at worst only give them a hangover and not something more lethal.

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Suzanne Frey, an executive at Alphabet, is a member of The Motley Fool’s board of directors. Rich Duprey has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool owns shares of and recommends Alphabet (A shares) and Alphabet (C shares). The Motley Fool recommends Constellation Brands. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.

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