The world beer market has long been dominated by three or four large multinational conglomerate brewers, who brew around 50% of the world’s beer every year (about 1.2 billion hectolitres). They consistently buy up their competition, or well performing new brands, to stay at the top of their game.
Anheuser Busch InBev
Most Recent Revenue Figures: $56.4 billion
Beer Brands Owned: Budweiser, Stella Artois, Beck’s, Corona, Leffe, Hoegaarden, Bud Light, Brahma
Based: Leuven, Belgium
CEO: Carlos Brito
A truly multinational company, ABInBev was formed after mergers between large brewers Anheuser Busch (USA) and InBev (Belgium). They also bought out English brewer SAB Miller in 2016, consolidating their position as the biggest brewing company in the world.
Their signature beer, Budweiser, is consistently the best selling beer in the USA – between it and Bud Light they accounted for a full 20% of the market share in 2018.
Most Recent Revenue Figures: £19.17 billion
Beer Brands Owned: Heineken, Amstel, Tiger, Birra Moretti, Red Stripe, Strongbow
Based: Amsterdam, Netherlands
CEO: Jean-François van Boxmeer
Heineken is the second largest brewer in the world, and the biggest in Europe. They produced nearly 190 million hectolitres of beer in 2017. Much of their main Heineken brand is still brewed in the Netherlands, and you can visit their original brewed in Amsterdam. No longer producing beer, it is called the Heineken Experience and is open for tours the year round.
China Resources Snow Brewery
Most Recent Revenue Figures: RMB 29,732,000,000 (About £3.25 billion)
Beer Brands Owned: Snow, Blue Sword, Green Leaves, New Three Star, Singo
Based: Beijing, China
General Manager: Humor Wang
CR Snow is essentially a state-owned private enterprise, who are makers of the world’s best-selling beer – Snow. More than 100 million hectolitres of this one brand are brewed every year. However, it is largely unknown outside of China, with the huge domestic market still providing its place atop the global charts. In 2011, CR also acquired Heineken International’s Asian division for $134 million dollars.
Most Recent Revenue Figures: $9.48 billion
Beer Brands Owned: Carlsberg, Tuborg, Kronenbourg, Baltika, Somersby Ciders
Based: Copenhagen, Denmark
CEO: Cees t’Hart
Carlsberg is the oldest brewer on this list, having been founded just over 150 years ago by J.C Jacobsen of Copenhagen. Their namesake beer was given the title in honour of the founder’s son, Carl Jacobsen. Sadly, Berg is not Danish for Beer – which would mean this beer translates into English as Carl’s Beer.
They missed a trick there, no?
Apart from brewing a lot of beer, Carlsberg are also well known for sponsoring many football teams and tournaments. Over the years this has included the UEFA European Championships three times and a 15-year association with Liverpool Football Club. Carlsberg have also sponsored a range of scientific and other philanthropic projects including the sponsoring of the Niels Bohr Institute of Theoretical Physics in Copenhagen and Arctic Ice Core Drilling.
The list is far from complete or absolutely conclusive, since there are more than few up and coming breweries; and who knows, perhaps someday soon this short list will expand and change.