Chinese beer drinkers gain ground

The United States continued to lead the world in beer consumption in 2002, but China could grab the No. 1 spot by the time 2003 figures are totaled.

Japan’s Kirin Brewery reports global beer consumption was up 2.1% in 2002, the 17th consecutive increase in the 17 years that Kirin has collected the statistics. U.S. beer drinkers downed 23.8 billion liters, with China just behind at 23.5 billion liters. Sales in the United States were up 1.4%, while they surged 4.7% in China.

Germany is a distant third at 10 billion liters, and Brazil is fourth. Russian surpassed Japan for the fifth spot, with Japan falling to sixth.