Snow and Bud Light in beer brand battle

06 April 2009

HONG KONG: Snow, the Chinese beer, has overtaken Bud Light to become the biggest beer brand worldwide by sales, reports Plato Logic, although this finding is disputed by Anheuser-Busch, the owner of Budweiser.

A number of Asian beer brands, including China's Tsingtao, have previously attempted to increase their international reach, but it has been argued that Chinese companies may find it challenging to expand outside of their domestic market.

Snow, which is jointly-owned by SAB Miller and China Resources Enterprises, posted an uplift in sales of 19.1% to 61 million hectolitres last year, according to Plato Logic's figures.

By contrast, Bud Light sold 55.6 million hectolitres in 2008, meaning it was deposed from top spot, while Budweiser's main variant was in third place, with 43.4 million hectolitres.

It was followed in the rankings by Brazilian brand Skol (35.4 million hectolitres), Corona (32.7 million hectolitres) and Heineken (29.1 million hectolitres). 

However, Dave Peacock, president of Anheuser-Busch, argued that Bud Light actually remained the world's best-selling "single trademark brand" competing in one price segment.

By contrast, he suggested that Snow represents some 25 product extensions, including draft, original malt and premium offerings, meaning that it competes over a number of different segments, helping to increase its overall volume sales.

Data sourced from Reuters; additional content by WARC staff