Ever heard f “Snow Beer” we thought not. So, what is the best selling beer in the world? Budweiser, Heineken, Carlsberg? Alas no, the biggest selling beer in the world is probably one that you have never actually heard of the aforementioned Snow Beer!
To read about the best selling liquor in the world click here.
Where is Snow Beer from?
When you visit mainland China (particularly in the north), you will undoubtedly come across a brand of Chinese beer called Snow Beer (Mandarin: 雪花啤酒snowflake beer). And yes, this is officially at least the best-selling beer in the world!
So, it must be really good right? Well, lets put this in perspective, the Agricultural Bank of China (ABC Bank) is the biggest bank in the world, you probably have not heard of them, and they are not very good. Snow Beer is thus the biggest selling beer on the planet, and well not very good.
Snow Beer though is very cheap and sold in the most populous country in the world, so this explains at least why it is there…
What varieties of Snow Beer are there?
The most popular version of snow beer consumed by the masses is 干啤 gan’pi, or dry beer. Dry beer in China generally means “German-style”, with almost all beer in China being influenced by the German colonial city of Qingdao (Tsingtao).
In Xi’an, the most popular beer is known as Hans Dry Beer (gan pi). This is a really bad beer……..
So back to the world’s most popular beer Snow. Snow has been the best selling beer in the world since 2008, yep that is 12 years, a long time to be the king of beers.
There are various other premium versions of snow, all costing slightly more than the peasant stuff, but nothing that would be considered high brow. They do though make one dark beer that is quite palatable.
Who makes the best selling beer in the world?
The brand Snow Beer is majority-owned by state monolith China Resources Enterprise, who owns 60%, with Heineken owning 40%. Perhaps explaining its rather unique taste (for unique read bad).
Why is it the best selling beer in the world?
Well to give you some context 4 out of the 10 best selling beers in the world are Chinese. Snow at number 1, Tsingtao at 3, Harbin at 7, and Yanjing at 8. So having a healthy population certainly helps. Out of these, my particular favorite would be Harbin, which is jointly-owned by Budweiser, who is the second biggest selling beer in the world (by volume).
How much does the best beer in the world cost?
How much does a Snow Beer cost? Well, this will depend if you are in a nightclub, bar, or Chinese corner-shop, but at current rates, a small can of snow set you back a mere 35-40 cents $USD.
Cheap and nasty!
Is Snow all that bad?
Snow isn’t great, that we have covered, but it is also not god awful. In China, almost every beer available to man can be purchased but at a price. If you want premium beers in China, you can pay for them, but if you want to get loaded on cheap beer, there is nothing wrong with snow.
That being said! If you do get the choice, Harbin, which is jointly owned by Budweiser is the “best” of the local Chinese beers, in my humble opinion.
Also and for some god only knows reason Pabst Blue (fucking) Ribbon is the biggest beer (in the biggest bottle) throughout Dongbei (North-Eastern China), and despite being the hillbilly beer of the USA is a respected brand in China (where it is also bottled).
And thus the first in our series on the beers of China!