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Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Another sign of the times

By Owen Morris in Booze

snowbeermicamonkey.jpg
Flickr: Micha Monkey
Though we're not big Anheuser-Busch drinkers, it still stung when InBev bought the St. Louis company -- just as it stings again to learn that Anheuser-Busch no longer has the best-selling beer in the world.

After more than five years in the top spot, Bud Light lost the number-one spot to the Chinese beer Snow. It was a long time coming, and it might have actually lost the top spot in 2007. But it was confirmed recently when Snow reported its yearly results.

Snow is a pale lager that is by all accounts pretty similar to Bud Light in flavor or lack thereof. On the snobby Beer Advocate site, Bud Light is ranked a D- in taste. Snow, which looks like it comes in a rejected Surge can, has an F rating. Commentators labeled it "bland," "watery," "soap" and "smells faintly of steamed broccoli and cauliflower."

It's a small consolation to know that most Chinese have the same bad taste in beers as Americans. But the fact that Snow was even in a position to take the number-one spot is disappointing.
Just three years ago, the four best-selling beers in the world were all American brewed -- Bud, Bud Light, Millers and Coors. Now only Bud and Bud Light are in the top five.

A pessimists could say America is falling behind but I say au contraire, we're just saving our domination for other things.

For instance, McDonald's -- which is truly American owned -- is the number-one restaurant in the world by a large margin. Yum! in Louisville holds the next two spots with KFC and Pizza Hut. Snickers and Hersheys are the two best-selling candy bars in the world.

Snow may be number one for now but when it comes to influencing food and beverage culture -- for better or worse -- we're still number one.

Original here

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