I have heard a lot about corona in terms of its taste and being the great alcoholic beverage !! It is worth the hype or just a fad ?
There are a few main things contributing to this 'hype'.
Firstly is the addition of the lime. It adds the citric acidity that pairs well with the light beer and gives it a unique zing that you don't find in other easily available beers.
Secondly, its a light beer that is easy and pleasurable to drink. It may not have rich notes that some love, or special characteristics, but what it gains is wide appeal and a product that you can't really hate, even if you don't absolutely love it. It is a very refreshing beer to drink when compared to a heavier lager or IPA.
Finally, is the marketing / ambiance it embodies. This is very likely a smaller contributing factor, but often one recalls having a nice corona on the beach as they relaxed, or correlate the beer to that image in their head, so it has that mental factor as well.
It comes down to the fact that reviews and 'class' aside, you should be drinking the beers you enjoy, and for many non-connoisseurs Corona fits that bill very well.
Corona used to be a cheap Mexican Beer available in the US. When its popularity fell a little bit, the company's marketing wing decided to provide provocative ads and increase the price. Americans bought that (the marketing) and Corona now is a "desired" beer in the US.
That's my take based entirely on personal observation and this: http://www.aef.com/pdf/effie/corona_2006.pdf
Corona is not the first to use this marketing approach, gold schnapps did the same thing and were somewhat successful, though they didn't have the windfall that Corona had.
Remember Gold Schnapps? It used to be a cheap schnapps, with enticing and interesting "gold" flakes drifting slowly through the drink.
The new Gold Schnapps is more expensive and the companies accentuate the "gold" flakes...I haven't looked, but I'll bet this marketing also worked.
I wouldn't even call it a fad, it's a cheap drink that's light and not too alcoholic. I think more than anything, Americans are attracted to it's Mexican/fiesta advertising and they just feel like it makes a moment more festive.
Disclaimer: Not a Corona fan.
My two cents - Corona is an accessible beer (both geographically and taste-wise). You can get it anywhere, and it doesn't contain any of the strong flavors that come with liberal use of hops, malt or yeast (such as found in the IPA, stout, or Belgian varieties).
Lagers are generally easy-drinking, and when paired with a great marketing campaign and a little wedge of lime, makes for a beer that almost anyone can drink 3 or 4 of.
My greatest like of Corona is the fact that it's a light bear and that it pairs very well with lime. This way in the summer when it's how, it is a very refreshing beer and easy to drink. Also this is the way it's marketed, a "summer party" beer so it fits its role well.
It's a light beer that tastes great and since it has the name imprinted on the bottle instead of a paper label stuck on, it is not messy when taken out of ice bucket.