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Friday, April 3, 2009

From the "you learn something new everyday" department:

I've been known to consume a lot of beer. How much? Well, I don't know exactly, but I know that I do consume a few "hectoliters" a year!

hectoliters [HEHK-tuh-lee-tuhr] A capacity unit equal to 100 liters, or 26.418 U.S. Gallons, or 22 Imperial gallons. In European and South American countries, where metric systems are standard, wine and beer production figures are generally expressed in hectoliters.

I bring this up for two reasons. First, I've never heard of a hectoliters until today. Second, I learned it when I read the following story:

Jeremiah McWilliams of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reported:

What is the world’s top beer brand? Apparently, it depends on whom you ask.

Data from U.K.-based research group Plato Logic shows Chinese beer Snow jumped ahead of Bud Light to become the world’s biggest selling beer last year, according to a story from Reuters. China is the world’s biggest beer market.

Snow is brewed by China Resources Enterprises and London-based SABMiller, Anheuser-Busch InBev’s largest competitor. Last year, Snow’s sales volumes jumped 19 percent to 61 million hectoliters. According to Reuters, that puts it “well ahead of Bud Light and sister brew Budweiser.”

Or does it? Anheuser-Busch vigorously disputes the rankings. The company argues that Bud Light - NOT Snow - is the world’s bestselling beer as a single trademark brand. Why? Because Snow encompasses a family of beer brands that include at least 25 extensions. Anheuser-Busch folks say that’s not an apples-to-apples comparison, and that a more accurate count would rank Bud Light, with about 40 million barrels sold last year, as the world’s No. 1 individual brand.

Ehh…who are we to judge? We report, you decide. Our sense is that defending its spot on the top of beer-sales rankings has been a traditional point of pride at Anheuser-Busch. But at the new Anheuser-Busch InBev, things like market share and even barrel sales are arguably of less concern than the revenue and earnings the company can ring out of each barrel. At the end of the day, a large chunk of executive compensation is now tied to paying off debt and boosting earnings. Those things are related to selling more liquid than the other guys, but they are not the same thing (end)

For the record, here are Plato’s rankings, as reported by Reuters in millions of hectoliters:

1. Snow 61.0

2. Bud Light 55.6

3. Budweiser 43.4

4. Skol (Brazil) 35.4

5. Corona 32.7

6. Heineken 29.1

Sir Bowie "probably going to enjoy a portion of his annual hectoliters tonight" of Greenbriar


  1. .....and not a decent beer amongst the whole damn lot of them...

    I thought the lager/bier crazy had died away a little in England... but i fear the worst...on going out for differnt reasons to different "normal" city centre bars in Oxford in the week.... it was depressing to view that just the main corporate "chemical" Bier lagers.. were for sale.. and a couple of "chemical" mass produced ciders. The only proper beer was Bottle of Newcastle Brown in the fridges behind the bars.

    So needless to say i won't be showing this sorry sight to the Founding Folk when they fetch up on our coastline.. it will be olde Pubs with Lots of Nutty beers... ...and we'll leave the deluded teenagers and japanese tourists with no taste buds to rinse their kidneys out with the Horse urine.

    Sad tho...that Ad-men and powerful breweries... hold such sway in the market place, selling cheap unlovely crap.

    Sir dayvd ( the Canute who cannot, hold back the tide of lager ) of Oxfordshire

  2. Ad-men....who needs them? Well, my family for one; however, I do empathize with Sir D about the Horse Urine!

    I remember well the day of my enlightenment...which so happened to be in a small pub in Bath, England, when I had my first pint of hand pulled cask ale, brewed on the spot!

    That was July 1979, and Horse Urine has never passed my lips again!

    Cheers to the Brits Who Know The Difference Between Piss and Beer!

    Sir Hook the Convert of Warrick