If you know about beer, you’d know that any big-sellers list will probably be dominated by one or two giant mega-breweries. Although not involved with every beer on this list, the name Anheuser Busch InBev pops up almost everywhere in the story of the global beer trade.
But what then, are the individual brands that make up the world’s top selling beers?
1. Snow, China
First released in 1993, Snow Beer is the singe most popular beer in the world – despite mostly only being sold in China. 100 million hectolitres of this ‘highly carbonated and watery’ beer is brewed every year. Previously a brewing collaboration between state-owned China Resource Enterprises and SAB Miller, Snow is now a 100% state-run production. Ownership changed in 2016 when SAB was bought out by AB InBev, who were then promptly forced to sell their interests in Snow by Chinese regulators.
2. Bud Light, US
Described by critics as ‘bland’, this light version of Budweiser remains your average Americans beer of choice and has been the second-best selling brand in the world for years. With a distinctive blue, white and red colour scheme, and ever popular marketing campaigns, this beer certainly sparks brand loyalty among US citizens. Each year their advertising tends to gear up around the countries biggest sporting event – the Super Bowl. They have consistently turned their fortunes around through clever marketing, keeping the top spot in 2017 despite falling sales year-on-year.
3. Budweiser, US
Unlike it’s cousin Bud Light, Budweiser is extremely popular all around the globe as well as the American market. You can pretty much find it in any major city around the world. First introduced in St Louis, Missouri in 1876, it is now available in over 80 different markets.
Also owned by AB InBev, it hasn’t always been smooth sailing for this internationally known brand. For almost 80 years, they have been in a rivalry (and sometimes even court cases) over the rights to the Budweiser name. Mostly with the Budweiser Budvar Brewery, based in the Czech Republic, who claim to have been brewing beer under the Budweiser name since 1245. There is evidence that Anheuser-Busch founder Adolphus Busch and Budweiser patron Carl Conrad visited the Czech region in 1876, shortly before launching the Budweiser brand in the US.
Whatever the truth of the story, the world got one of it’s most popular beers out of it.
4. Skol, Brazil
Licenced by Carlsberg in the European market today, this beer is mainly popular in Brazil. It is also well-liked in Turkey, Malaysia, Romania, Uganda and Angola amongst other countries. 36.4 million hectolitres of Skol were sold around the world in 2016. In the UK, it is mostly known for its super strength 9% ABV Skol Super brand that has been controversial in the past.
And oh yeah, just in case you missed them – Skol was once owned by AB InBev too, but they sold their global distribution rights to a variety of companies (including Carlsberg) in 2004.