Photo: MarketWatch
The #1 Beer In The World

Budweiser has claimed the top spot as the world’s most valuable beer brand for the first time, overtaking long-standing leader Bud Light, according to the latest report by Brand Finance, the world’s leading independent brand valuation consultancy.

Budweiser’s brand value has increased 6% to US$7.5 billion, following the immense success of its global sponsorship campaign of the 2018 FIFA World Cup. The campaign, the brand’s most expensive to date, reached 3.2 billion football fans globally, facilitating accelerated growth in new markets including South Africa, Colombia, China and Australia.

Budweiser and Bud Light (down 5% to US$7.0 billion), the flagship brands of Belgian brewing giant AB InBev, have had to contend with the changing consumer drinking habits across theUS. The general decline in beer consumption across millennials, and the preference for healthier alcohol-free alternatives have contributed to the slowdown in their brand value growth compared to previous years.

The AB InBev portfolio still dominates the rankings, however, with 11 brands claiming spots in the top 25, down from 13 last year. The brewer closed the third largest acquisition in history in 2016, after merging with SABMiller, and has since been tackling its mountainous debt pile, predominantly through sales drives.

Chinese brands record fastest growth

Photo: Pinterest
Photo: Pinterest

China’s Snow is the fastest-growing brand in this year’s Brand Finance Beers 25 ranking and has broken into the top 10 for the first time, with an impressive 52% rise in brand value to US$3.7 billion. Snow is the best-selling beer in the world, clocking up 101.2 million hectolitres of beer sold per year, more than double that of Budweiser’s sales. The brand, which historically has only been sold in China, has made a number of strategic partnerships in order to raise its global presence, notably with Dutch brewing giant Heineken and America’s Molson Coors.

Tsingtao (up 49% to US$1.7 billion) has jumped up 9 places in the ranking, more than any other brand. The brand continues to retain its loyal customer base in its home country and is also the most exported Chinese beer, sold in over 100 countries and regions globally. As with other Chinese brands, Tsingtao faces fierce competition from other global brewing giants but despite this, Tsingtao has recorded strong sales growth over the last year.

David Haigh, CEO of Brand Finance, commented:

“As you can see across this year’s ranking, it is the Asian, particularly Chinese, beer brands that are seeing the highest brand value growth. With demand for beer at an all time high in China and predictions of inflated growth over the coming years as a result of greater disposable income from the emerging middle class, this trend looks set to continue. If these brands begin to expand beyond China and into new markets, we could potentially see some very stiff competition to established Western beer brands.”

The History of Budweiser

Photo: CNBC
Photo: CNBC

Budweiser was first starting to be brewed in St louis in 1876 during the industrial era. St louis was populated by a growing number of German immigrants. These immigrants had brought with them the recipes for a style of beer called Lager; lager was bottom fermented in cooler temperatures for longer periods of time, this process resulted in a lighter more crisp beer compared to alternatives such as ale. One German immigrant named Adolphus Busch partnered with his father-in-law, Eberhard Anheuser and worked at Eberhard’s brewery.

The brewery used new techniques in the brewing process such as pasteurization and refrigeration, these were techniques that were not yet popular among other brewers. Another technique and ingredient that Anheuser and Busch utilized was rice, rice was used in addition with malted barley to make the brew crisper while saving a few dollars. It was because of these techniques that the lager known as Budweiser was able to be reproduced. To this day the brewery uses a very systematic approach to brewing to ensure that every beer will taste the same now matter where it is ordered.

The name Budweiser was inspired by a town in the Czech Republic where the brew was first brewed. This caused a lot of legal issues for Anheuser and Busch because other local breweries in the Czech Republic also used the name Budweiser. These legal battles were resolved but were later a hot topic when Budweiser gained global recognition.

Budweiser and Prohibition

During prohibition Eberhard and Anheuser switched to making a non-alcoholic drink named,” near beer”. The brewery made over 20 products ranging from soft drinks to corn syrup. They also started to sell their ingredients like hops, barley, rice, and yeast because home breweries became very popular during these times. Because of these innovative ideas the brewery was able to stay afloat during the years of prohibition.


Photo: AbInBev
Photo: AbInBev

To celebrate the end of prohibition six Clydesdale horses were used to pull a red white and blue beer wagon. These horses were used as mascots for the beer and brewery, they were used for various marketing campaigns by the company. Along with the Clydesdales Budweiser used the slogan “King of Beers” to help market their brew. The brand still uses this slogan today and can be seen on any bottle or can of Budweiser beer. The company produced a lot of iconic advertisements that mainly premiered during prime times at the NFL Super Bowl.

Anheuser and Busch’s Budweiser reached its peak sales of 50.8 million barrels of beer in 1988. The beer was very popular and it was the best beer in America; it is now ranked the third most popular brew of choice, close behind the second Bud Lite. Although Budweiser is not as popular as it once was it is still a great brew with an interesting history.

*****READ MORE: Top 10 Most Popular Beers In The World

One to watch: BrewDog

Innovative Scottish craft beer brand, BrewDog, is the highest new entrant in the ranking in 19th position, with a brand value of US$1.5 billion. Now 11 years old, the brand is undertaking ambitious growth plans across key international markets, with new breweries and bars in the pipeline both at home in the UK and abroad. Its flagship beer, Punk IPA, is already the number one craft beer in the UK and the brand is striving to make it the beer of choice internationally.

The brand is committed to expansion, with gin and vodka already in its portfolio, it is widening its reach further by entering into the whiskey market, in a bid to make it more playful.

In 2018, BrewDog announced its foray into the hotels business, opening the doors to the world’s first craft beer hotel, The DogHouse.

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