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Growth in the world beer market is set to reach around 2.5 per cent this year in a "two-speed" recovery driven by emerging markets, while mature economies are set for more meagre advances, industry research group Plato Logic said on Monday.

"Globally, the beer industry continues to show resilience in the current economic climate; we are forecasting some further recovery in 2011 to near 'normal' growth rates," said Plato director Ian Pressnell in a statement.

The 2.5 per cent volume growth forecast for this year -- largely reflecting the increasing taste for beer among emerging market consumers -- compares with 1.6 per cent growth in 2010 and an 0.4 per cent advance in 2009.

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For this year, the research group predicts 1 per cent growth in Europe and America and some 4 to 5 per cent in the emerging regions of Asia, Africa and the Middle East.

For 2010, there was no change in the ranking of the world's five biggest beer markets, with China increasing its lead over the United States to be nearly twice as large, having consumed some 450 million hectolitres of beer, Plato's figures showed.

Those two nations stay well ahead of Brazil, Russia and Germany.

China's Snow beer retained its top spot in the world's leading beer brands in 2010, according to Plato. The beer, brewed by a joint venture involving the world's second-biggest brewer SABMiller, was followed by Bud Light, Budweiser and Brazil's Skol, all brewed by the world's biggest brewer Anheuser Busch InBev in an unchanged top four from 2009.

Chinese beer Tsingtao jumped to fifth spot, swapping places with Mexico's Corona, while AB InBev's Brazilian brew Brahma stayed in seventh position. Another Chinese brand Beijing Beer jumped over Heineken to make eighth spot, while Coors Light remained the 10th best-selling beer brand.

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