If I were to ask you what the Fast and Furious beer is, you’d all chant back in unison, “Corona.” And you’d be right. But, as it turns out, Corona’s parent company, Anheuser-Busch InBev, never actually paid to have the beer appear in the films.
In a recent episode of The Bill Simmons Podcast, Fast and Furious producer Neil Moritz confirmed that Corona is the official beer of the franchise: “It is. Unpaid official beer of Fast and Furious.”
“Unpaid?” Simmons repeated in disbelief. “You’ve done, like, hundreds of millions of dollars of advertising for them.” (Business Insider estimates $15 million.)
“I know,” Moritz responded. “It’s crazy.”
Weirdly, though, there was no Corona at the end of the latest installment, The Fate of the Furious. Instead, the barbecue table was topped with bottles of... Budweiser? Stella Artois? It felt like we lost another shitty member of the family, the one that tastes like shit and will give you diarrhea, but still.
It’s a small detail, but it’s also kind of a big deal—and directly in violation of one of the most memorable lines of the first movie: “You can have any brew you want,” Dominic Toretto tells Brian O’Conner when he first brings him to his house, “as long as it’s a Corona.”
With a line like that, it’s pretty incredible to learn that it wasn’t from any actual product placement. Universal declined to comment to Vanity Fair’s queries as to why other Anheuser-Busch products replaced the beloved Coronas in Fate.
In reality, Corona was chosen because of Gary Scott Thompson’s real-life inspiration. Thompson, who wrote the original The Fast and the Furious script, told The Ringer in a very excellent feature:
“I was asked by Universal to see if I could figure out a story based on a Vibe magazine article that they had. Ironically, I lived a block from a group of kids who were tearing their cars apart and putting them back together. I had Corona in my script because the guys at the end of the street drank Corona. It was a very East L.A. beer.”
Rob Cohen, who directed the first film, told the website that he was trying to build a multi-racial cast and that Corona had “significant contingents of Hispanic and Asian consumers.” It was perfect: “I was trying to make an L.A. saga, and Corona, to me, just seemed like this iconic, Southern California beer.”
Cohen said that when they were first pulling together ideas for the film in the late 1990s, “nobody knew what the fuck it was.” So, they reached out to Corona, which basically said, “Sure, we’ll give you some beer and it’s chill if you use our name.”
And the rest, as they say, is history.