I am not the target demographic for Naturdays, Natural Light’s strawberry lemonade “drinking beer” that launched in February, just ahead of Spring Break.
My first suspicion that Naturdays and I might not be right for each other came after pulling up Natural Light’s Twitter and finding references to shower beers and Sunday scaries. A company rep confirmed that the beer is marketed toward “21+ millennials, but not limited to that audience.”
What is a “Naturday,” you ask?
“It might be a Naturday if you’re sending a “U up?” text at 2 p.m.” reads one company branded tweet.
Daniel Blake, senior director of value brands at Anheuser-Busch, says the term was popularized on social media by fans of the original Natural Light beer incorporating the drink into their weekends.
“A Naturday is when you get a perfect mix of friends, vibes, and adventure and it all culminates in making epic memories,” says Blake, using “vibes” and “epic” two more times than I usually care to.
Natural Light launched in 1977 as Anheuser-Busch’s first reduced-calorie light beer. I haven’t had a Natty Light since college, but I don’t remember it being a good beer. (Currently, with more than 1,000 reviews, it gets a 1.08-out-of-5 rating on RateBeer.)
I was drawn to review Naturdays in part to try something different, and in part because sweeter, lighter flavors are increasing in popularity. A recent Chicago Tribune story cited a statistic that the country has spent $389 million on hard seltzer during the past six months, and that White Claw is now a top-25 brand among all beers. Other data show that most hard seltzer drinkers were previously beer drinkers.
“We noticed an opportunity in the market,” says Blake. “We saw that in the beer category, drinkers were developing preferences for fruit-forward and sweeter drinks. . . . We knew that a great-tasting, fruit-flavored, and affordably priced beer would appeal to a lot of people.”
But would it appeal to me? While doing research for this story I read a Vox article headlined “Millennials are drinking less beer. So beer is becoming more like juice,” which quoted a young woman who had tried and liked Naturdays and afterward made a good point:
“Naturdays, of course, is not a beer designed with the professional craft beer reviewer in mind. It’s designed for someone like Megan, or someone like me, a woman who loves fancy double IPAs but who’s also been known to throw down $3 for a Mang-O-Rita at my local bodega.”
With that context, I recently cracked a couple cans of Naturdays on a summer Saturday and tried to open my mind to them. And . . . maybe it’s just my snobby craft beer palate, or maybe the vibe wasn’t quite right, but I came away unimpressed. There’s nothing delicate about Naturdays, including an overpowering strawberry flavor that’s like something you’d get from an order at Jamba Juice. I like lemonade but could have used more tartness here. If I wanted something sweet whose flavor I didn’t have to think about, I’d reach for a White Claw.
“If it’s a party, maybe,” said a woman my age who took a sip and, like me, doesn’t attend many parties.
Which isn’t to say you shouldn’t drink Naturdays, but hopefully gives you a bit more context as to what you’re getting into if you do.
Gary Dzen can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.