Bud Light is a popular, refreshing drink consumed by millions around the world. Consuming Bud Light prior to its expiration date is a great way to enjoy the best quality and taste.
Does Bud Light expire? Yes, Bud Light does expire. Anheuser-Busch (A-B), the company which produces Bud Light, gives the beer a shelf life of 110 days. Although you can technically still drink Bud Light after its expiration date, its quality drops after this time and degrades even further after six to nine months.
Read on to learn how to identify if your Bud Light is still drinkable and how you can extend the shelf life of your beer with proper storage.
How Do You Read the Bud Light Expiration Code?
The expiration code on the bottom of your Bud Light can is a “freshest before” date. A typical Bud Light expiration code looks like this: 09DEC19. Here’s how to break it down:
- The first two digits represent the day of the month. In this case, it is the 9th.
- The first three letters indicate the month. Here, it is December.
- The last two digits are the year. This Bud Light expired in 2019.
If the can of Bud Light you’re looking at is older, the expiration date on it may be a “born on” label, which A-B introduced back in 1996. This label indicates the beer’s production date rather than its expiration date.
In August 2015, A-B swapped the “born on” label out for the “freshest before” date used today. If your Bud Light is old enough to have a “born on” label, it is well beyond the recommended 110 days. While the beer itself is no good, its container serves as a reminder of a different time.
How Long Can Unopened Bud Light Last?
According to A-B, customers should enjoy their unopened Bud Light within 110 days of its production, but it is safe to drink long after that period. After about six to nine months beyond the expiration date, canned and bottled beer goes flat and loses its flavor.
Refrigeration can aid in keeping beer fresh longer, with 50 to 55 degrees Fahrenheit being the ideal temperature for storing beer. It can increase the shelf life of beer by up to two years beyond its expiration date.
How Long Does Bud Light Last After Opening It?
Beer usually maintains its quality for about a day once opened if kept in the fridge and covered. After that, expect it to lose its carbonation and to start developing an off taste.
While unopened Bud Light can last for quite some time, the quality of open Bud Light deteriorates rapidly due to oxidation. Unopened Bud Light is protected from this aging process because the sealed cans and bottles keep out excess oxygen.
Additionally, if you’ve been drinking your Bud Light, it has been contaminated with your bacteria. Although Bud Light is an alcoholic beverage, its alcohol by volume is only 4.2%. This amount of alcohol is not enough to kill all bacteria in the drink, but refrigeration can slow them down.
How Should You Store Bud Light?
Bud Light, like other beers, does best when kept in a cool, dark place at a constant temperature. To prevent oxidation, keep Bud Light stored upright with the seal unbroken until you are ready to drink it.
The three main contributors to the deterioration of beer are light, oxygen, and bacteria exposure. Casual beer fans need only concern themselves with protecting their unopened Bud Light against light and oxygen exposure, as bacterial contamination is rare these days.
Light exposure can ruin even unopened, unexpired Bud Light by imparting it with a distinctive “skunked” flavor.
A-B designed Bud Light’s packaging to mitigate the damage of light exposure, but you can extend the life of your beer even further by storing it in a dark space away from light.
Cans tend to last longer than bottles because they block more light. They also tend to last longer than bottles because their seal provides better protection than a bottle cap against oxidation.
To prevent both cans and bottles from oxidizing, store them upright as manufacturers intended. When stored properly, only a little liquid comes in contact with the oxygen in the container, minimizing oxidation.
As mentioned previously, bacteria is a concern for opened Bud Light, because typically an open beer has been sipped. Refrigeration can help slow the multiplication of bacteria in the drink, and keeping your beer to yourself can prevent the spread of disease to someone else.
It’s also imperative that if your Bud Light was previously refrigerated, you keep it that way. Like other alcoholic beverages, Bud Light does not appreciate being warmed up and cooled down again. If this happens, it will develop a strange flavor.
What Happens If You Drink Expired Bud Light?
Drinking expired Bud Light likely will not cause you any harm, although it may cause some of the negative symptoms already associated with alcohol consumption, like headache or nausea. You probably won’t enjoy the taste either.
Bud Light undergoes pasteurization, a process in which the beer is heated to a high temperature to destroy any bacteria and stop further yeast growth. Because of this, very few bacteria should be present in Bud Light long after its expiration date passes.
Therefore, the chances of getting sick or having an adverse health reaction to drinking an expired Bud Light are relatively low unless you’ve left the drink sitting around open for days.
The biggest concern with drinking expired Bud Light is its quality. There’s a good chance your expired Bud Light’s carbonation has dissipated, which alters the flavor. As long as you prepare for the worst, there’s nothing unsafe about trying a sip.
Although drinking expired Bud Light won’t kill you, the beverage will likely be flat and unappetizing.
Bud Light’s parent company recommends consumers enjoy their drink within 110 days of production, but Bud Light can maintain a decent flavor for six to nine months or even up to two years past this date with proper storage.
Store your Bud Light upright in a cool, dark place, preferably the refrigerator, to maximize its shelf life. Once opened, keep it refrigerated and try to drink it within one day.
News update: In 2023 Bud Light experienced a 23.6% decrease in sales in May compared to the same period last year, continuing a downward trend from previous weeks.