Favorite beers around the world

World of Beer

Travel the world, and you’ll find there’s quite a bit of disagreement about what the best — or at least preferred — beer looks like.

Sure, Americans love Bud Light (and a lot of other watery stuff). But just north of the border, in Canada, the beer of choice is Bud Light’s heavier cousin Budweiser. Down in Mexico, people choose Corona most often. In China, beer drinkers down a lager beer called Snow; in India, people like a pale lager called Kingfisher best; in Brazil, the most popular brew is a Pilsner called Skol; and across the ocean, in Australia, it’s a beer called Victoria Bitter.

Beverage industry site Vinepair culled data from market research firm Euromonitor and corporate reports by beer companies around the world to come up with a list of the most popular beers, as measured by market share. Using that data, they created a map, which paints a surprisingly varied picture of beer preferences around the globe.

In North and Central America, favorites range from the well-known brands listed above to lesser known brews like Gallo, which is Guatemala’s favorite, and Imperial, which Costa Ricans buy most often.

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In South America, some countries prefer their local brews, while others have gained an appreciation for ones made elsewhere (sometimes, even, by next door neighbors). Polar, Venezuela’s favorite, is brewed domestically. And Quilmes — Argentina’s beer of choice — was originally founded in the country, though it now operates out of Luxembourg and has plants all around the world. Paraguay, meanwhile, drinks Brahma beer, which is Brazilian, the most.

In Europe, beer preferences tend to stay true to each country’s own brewing culture. The French prefer Kronenbourg 1664, which is owned by Denmark-based Carlsberg, but brewed in Strassbourg, France. In Ireland, the beer of choice is locally made Guinness. In the Netherlands, it’s Heineken. In Italy, it’s Birra Moretti. And in Spain it’s Cruzcampo.

In Africa, preferences include Tango beer in Algeria (which, though originally Algerian, has been owned by Heineken since 2008), Star beer in Nigeria (where Guinness happens to be peculiarly popular), and Carling Black Label beer, which originally comes from Canada, is owned by global beer giant SABMiller, and is South Africa’s most-bought brew.

In the Middle East, popular brands range from Gold Star in Israel to Moussy in Saudi Arabia, Efes in Turkey, and Delster Classic in Iran, a light beer that, according to Euromonitor, “has been very popular among Iranian consumers ever since its launch, to the extent that the name Delster is now synonymous with non/low alcohol beer.”

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In Asia, regional beers reign. Russia likes locally made Baltika best (the beer accounts for roughly 40 percent of all sales in the country, per Euromonitor). The Japanese like Asahi. Thailand loves both Singha and Chang beer. And Indonesia drinks Bintang beer, which is made locally but owned by Heineken.

Lastly, down in Oceania, the brews of choice include Victoria Bitter in Australia and Lion Red in New Zealand.

Across the world, beer preferences clearly vary. People also, for the most part, tend to favor lighter, less alcoholic brews. But don’t be fooled by all the different brands. Some of them might come from regional brewers, still owned by companies based locally. But many of them are now operated by one of the world’s two largest beer companies, Anheuser Busch InBev and SABMiller.

Anheuser-Busch Inbev, after all, technically controls the most popular beers in the United States, Canada, Brazil, Paraguay, Mexico and Argentina.

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And SABMiller is no slouch, either. The company owns the most popular beer in Colombia, South Africa, Peru and Ecuador, among others.