New ‘King’ of Beers?

[B]Chinese beer may be world’s biggest selling beer brand[/B]

An obscure Chinese beer is challenging Bud Light’s position as the world’s top-selling beer.

Snow Beer, the product of a joint venture between London-based SABMiller PLC and China Resources Enterprise Ltd., will overtake or has already overtaken Anheuser-Busch Co.’s Bud Light in terms of consumption, depending on how the numbers are looked at.

In an article in the Wall Steeet Journal, Kevin Baker, account director for alcoholic beverages at the U.K.-based market-research firm Canadean Ltd said, “I can confirm that the Chinese brand Snow is now the largest beer brand in the world.” About 1.35 billion gallons of Snow were consumed last year, compared with 48.4 million for Bud Light as a stand-alone brand, the firm says.

“I think it’s inevitable in certain respects that Snow will become the largest beer brand in the world,” says Paul Curran, an alcoholic-drink analyst at another research firm, Euromonitor International.

An A-B spokesman said Bud Light remains the top brand when sales of its Budweiser brand are included.

Snow’s production was less than one-tenth of its current level six years ago, when the regional brewer started developing a now-extensive national distribution network and began buying competing brewers in the fragmented Chinese market. That helped it tap China’s growing ranks of beer drinkers. “Success has largely been driven by the supply side,” says Ari Mervis, managing director for SABMiller’s Asian and African operations.

Though the Chinese drink less beer per person than Americans or Europeans, China’s beer market has been the world’s largest for the past six years and is growing 10% a year, according to Euromonitor. Snow’s rapid growth illustrates the promise of China’s vast consumer base.

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  1. Tlangle1 says

    el_mocoso wrote: mmmm…. fizzy yellow snow.


    Is the backhanded disparaging comment based on actual experience of the product itself or just directed at the concept of a concoction created and produced by the big bad London/Bejing based mega sized beer corp.?
    If you know of US product availability at retail, I’d be interested in sampling the beer, as I am interested in all beer.
    I think it’s of particular interest that the success is attributed to supply side performance whereas in the US market, thrusting availability of attractive new products on the market will attract the disgruntled few and trial crossover consumers as a base, but it’s “brand building” that fuels long term growth$.
    Developing economies are successfully exploited by a much simpler approach than mature ones it would seem.

  2. el_mocoso says

    fizzy yellow beer + yellow snow = fizzy yellow snow.

    another failed attempt at humor, i guess….


  3. beertje46 says

    el_mocoso wrote: fizzy yellow beer + yellow snow = fizzy yellow snow.

    another failed attempt at humor, i guess….


    I thought you were making a Zappa reference.

  4. Tlangle1 says

    beertje46 wrote: I thought you were making a Zappa tie-in.

    I also thought the joke was reference to the whole “don’t eat yellow snow” type comment. Implying snow saturated with urine. It was funny, albeit at the expense of another. Oh well…
    I’m glad the big mega’s are warming the Chinese to beer and can’t wait to see what happens to a beer ready consumer base of that size when exceptionally high quality, export ready, American Crafts make the scene.
    Better yet, when American Craft Brewers can get involved by owning local facilities and producing fresh hyper quality beers.
    I look forward to reading about the pioneering entrepreneur who embarks on that journey first.

  5. GFBeer says

    I’ve tried the Snow beer when I used to travel to China regularly in my previous career. It was a couple of years ago but I recall it being similar to all the other light flavoured rice adjunct Chinese beers – and real cheap!