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Top 10 global beers

The Snow goes on

Chinese beer brand Snow leapfrogs Bud Light into top spot in a relatively stable global beer market that seems generally unaffected by the recent economic downturn. However, the popularity of light beers appears to be on the wane.

Read on for the top 10 beers brands in order of million barrels sold.

1. Snow

Brand owner: SAB Miller
Head office:
1 Stanhope Gate

Tel:+44 (0) 20 7659 0100

VP marketing:Antonio Maldonado

SAB Miller press office
+44 (0) 20 7659 0105

Volume 2010: 52m barrels

Volume 2009: 48m barrels

Change 09-10: 8.3%

2010 ranking: 2

The fact that Snow is sold exclusively in China makes its rise to the top of the global beer tree all the more noteworthy.

It enjoys near-total command of the Chinese beer market, which is increasing in both volume and value rapidly and has toppled the US as the world’s largest beer market.

The Snow range accounts for 84% of sales at the China Resources/SAB Miller joint venture.

As its stock has risen, it has done better and better in the high-end market. It was involved in the Davos forum, and was designated three times in a row as the official beer for “the national committee of the Chinese people’s political consultative conference”, and was recognised by the members of the national committee of CPPCC.


2. Bud Light

Brand owner: Anheuser-Busch

Head office:
1 Busch Place
St Louis
63118, US

Tel: +1 800 342 5283


President & CEO: August A Busch IV

PR: Trimedia (UK)
+44 (0)20 7025 7500

Volume 2010: 47.4m barrels
Volume 2009: 53.6m barrels
Change 09-10: -11.6%
2010 ranking: 1

Although Bud light has lost its crown as the world’s best-selling beer, it still tops the pile in the US and remains one of the most widely publicised and recognisable beer brands in the world.

Continued investment in the brand has seen it achieve major US market penetration with sponsorship deals in place with the National Hockey League and Major League Baseball.

However, sales of its lime flavour variant have stagnated after a promising launch period.

Owner Anheuser-Busch has admitted it needs to start pushing Bud Light harder in overseas markets if it is to arrest a slide in volumes that has continued over the past few years.


3. Budweiser

Brand owner: Anheuser-Busch

Head office:
1 Busch Place
St Louis
63118, US

Tel: +1 800 342 5283


President & CEO: August A Busch IV

PR: Trimedia (UK)
+44 (0)20 7025 7500

Volume 2010: 37m barrels
Volume 2009: 38m barrels
Change 09-10: -2.6%
2010 ranking: 3

 The self-styled “King of Beers” faces a big year ahead as it seeks to boost its marketing profile.

In its first foray into mobile digital marketing, Budweiser is leveraging mobile advertisements to drive consumers to its Facebook page and Pandora radio station in an effort to improve overall customer engagement.

The beer brand is running banner ads on Pandora that take listeners to Budweiser’s Facebook page, Mobile Marketer reports. After being led to the company’s Facebook page, consumers are asked to “Like” Budweiser. They’re also encouraged to interact with the brand and post related content.

The brand has also been announced as the official partner of the FA Cup, England’s leading football tournament which is watched in living rooms around the world.

The tournament will be known as “The FA Cup with Budweiser”.

4. Skol

Brand owner:Carlsberg Breweries

Head office:
100 Ny Carlsberg Vej
1760, Copenhagen,

Tel:+45 2298 2185

Brand manager:David Caffrey

Product range:
Skol Premium, Skol 4,
Skol Super, Skol Chopp Claro

PR (UK): Talk PR
+44 (0)20 7544 3777

Volume 2010: 30.2m barrels
Volume 2009: 27.2m barrels

Change 09-10: 11%
2010 ranking: 4

Though relatively minor in major markets such as the US, UK and China, Skol is rampant in its key markets such as Brazil, Denmark and Eastern Europe.

The release in 2009 of a 4% abv variant, Skol 4, helped the brand make a lot of traction in the on-trade over the past couple of years and its owner Carlsberg is confident that its strength in key markets will see its popularity spread further afield as word of mouth spreads and tourism returns to pre-recession levels.

However, Carlsberg is reluctant to promote the brand in Western Europe due to the potential clash with its flagship brand.

5. Corona Extra

Brand owner:Grupo Modelo

Head office:
Campos Eliseos 400,
8th floor, Colonia
Lomas de Chapultepec, 11000,

Tel:+52 (55) 22 66 00 00

PR: +52 (1) 800 466 3356

Volume 2010: 27.9m barrels
Volume 2009: 24.5m barrels
Change 09-10: 3.4%
2010 ranking: 5

Commonly served with a wedge of lime, Corona is still seen as a quintessentially summery beer in markets such as the US – where it is the top-selling imported beer – Canada, Australia and the UK.

Corona is the title sponsor of the LPGA Tour tournament Corona Championship, and the NASCAR Corona Series in Mexico, the most important stock car racing series in
the country.

In addition, Corona is a “second sponsor” for four of Mexicos top-flight professional soccer teams – América, Toluca, Atlas, and Santos Laguna. Corona also sponsors major League Soccer’s Chivas USA.

Corona and the ATP have a five-and-a-half-year sponsorship deal where Corona will be the ATP’s premier worldwide sponsor.

6. Heineken

Brand owner:
Heineken International

Head office:
21, 1017 ZD
The Netherlands

Tel:+31 (0) 20 523 9239

Heineken Press Centre,
+31 (0) 20 523 9239

Volume 2010: 24.8m barrels
Volume 2009: 21.3m barrels
Change 09-10: 16.4%
2010 ranking: 6

A truly global brand, Heineken beer is brewed by 40 breweries in 39 countries around the world.

It is also hugely marketed through various channels.

Heineken is the titular sponsor of the Heineken Green Energy music concerts in Dublin, Ireland, as well as sponsoring Ireland’s biggest music festival, Oxegen. The Heineken Music Hall is located in Amsterdam, while in sport, Heineken sponsors the Heineken Cup, the premier tournament for elite European club rugby sides.

It is also the official beer of the UEFA Champions League and Chelsea Football Club.

7. Miller Lite

Brand owner: SABMiller

Head office:
SAB Miller, 1
Stanhope Gate,
London, W1K 1AF

Tel: +44 (0) 20 7659 0100

VP marketing:Antonio Maldonado

SABMiller press office,
+44 (0) 20 7659 0105

Volume 2010: 18.2m barrels
Volume 2009: 18.9m barrels
Change 09-10: -3.7%
2010 ranking: 8

The American penchant for light beers has resulted in such brands doing well despite a contracting US beer market.

The brand has particularly benefited from a range of commercials launched in June 2010 across the US depicting actresses Lindsay McKeon and Nadine Heimann as bartenders.

The brand also sponsors the hugely popular sport of NASCAR.

8. Brahma

Brand owner: AB InBev
Head office: Vaartkom 31, 3000,
Leuven, Belgium

Tel: +32 16 27 57 73
PR:+32 16 27 67 11

Product range:
Brahma Chopp, Brahma Extra,
Brahma Clittawetta, Brahma Light,
Brahma Nublies, Brahma Malzbier,
Brahma Ice, Brahma Black

Volume 2010: 18m barrels
Volume 2009: 19.6m barrels
Change 09-10: -8.2%
2010 ranking:7

Strong performance in South America, particularly in Brazil, has been the cornerstone of Brahma’s success in recent years and this is showing no sign of abating.

Brahma positions itself as the “fun time” beer of vibrant South America, but it might need to alter this approach somewhat if it is to start making headway in markets such as the UK.

9. Coors Light

Brand owner: Molson Coors
Head office:
1225 17th Street,
Denver, CO, 80202

Tel: +1 (800) 642 6116
PR:+1 303 277 2555

Volume 2010: 14.5m barrels
Volume 2009: 15.6m barrels
Change 09-10: -7.5%
2010 ranking: 9

Aside from its obvious success in the US, Coors Light has something of an advantage over some of its other “light” rivals in that is manages to do decent business in the UK, China, Vietnam and Canada.

It is still the official beer of the National Football League in the US and the NFL Network, while the brand also blazed a trail for the rest of the industry through the introduction of cold-activated labels.

Hollywood star Jean-Claude Van Damme – aka “The Muscles from Brussels” – recently signed up to be the face of the brand in a new advertising campaign.

10. Asahi Super Dry

Brand owner: Asahi

Head office: 23-1 Azumabashi
1-chome, Sumidaku,
Tokyo, 130-8602,

Tel: +81 (3) 5608 5126
PR:+81 (3) 5608 5126

Volume 2010: 12m barrels
Volume 2009: 13.9m barrels
Change 09-10: -13.7%
2010 ranking: 10

While it does indeed do good business in Europe – and the UK in particular – Asahi Super Dry’s key market remains its home one in Japan, which is rather handy seeing as Asia tops the pile when it comes to continental beer consumption.

In the US market, the brand has worked hard to reinforce the base of the market for Japanese restaurants and similar facilities and to raise brand recognition in local markets in a bid for further growth. From January 2010, it began offering Asahi Super Dry in kegs in the US market in a fully fledged push to establish a foothold in the on-trade market.

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