• Bloomberg

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The novel coronavirus is threatening an unlikely victim — one of the world’s most popular beers.

As the toll from the virus climbs worldwide, Corona has become the subject of memes and videos shared on social media. Reports of an increase in online searches for “corona beer virus” and “beer coronavirus” show the Mexican beer hasn’t been able to escape the association. So-called purchase intent among adults in the U.S. has plunged to its lowest in two years, according to data from YouGov PLC.

The damage has become more severe in recent days as infections have spread. Shares in Corona-maker Constellation Brands Inc. dived 8 percent this week in New York.

Corona’s “buzz score” — which tracks whether American adults aware of the brand have heard positive or negative things about it — has tumbled to 51 from a high of 75 at the beginning of the year, YouGov said.

In the past week, Constellation Brands’ shares have tumbled from a 2020 high.

Corona, which derives its name from the Sun’s corona and has nothing to do with the virus, has been the third-most popular beer in the U.S., according to YouGov rankings. Guinness is first and Heineken is second.

But another reason for the drop in purchase intent could be the perception of Corona as a summer beverage, associated with beach holidays, YouGov business data journalist Graeme Bruce wrote in an article published Wednesday. It therefore has substantial seasonal fluctuations, he said.

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