What is the best selling beer in the world? Snow beer! Have you ever heard of it? Probably not? Is Snow Beer any good? No, but let’s get to that later.
So, who knew, but Snow Beer is by far the best selling beer in the world, but unless you have lived or spent any time in China you are more than likely to have never heard of it! Fun fact, China has a LOT of people and they drink a lot of beer. In fact 4 of the top 10 selling beers in the world are from China.
Where is Snow Beer from?
As discussed, Snow is the biggest selling beer in China and therefore the world! So Snow Beer is from China, but where is China is Snow from?
The Chinese beer Snow Beer originally comes Shenyang, in the province of Liaoning, China. It was first founded in 1993, making it a relative young pup in the Chinese beer world.
Shenyang is located in China’s Dongbei (Mandarin: 东北) region. Dongbei is a blanket term that literally means North-East, and is the area that is on the way to North Korea!
Snow Beer is now mostly brewed in Beijing, but it is in the North-East of China where it is really popular, although I much prefer Harbin Beer.
What are the variants of the Beer?
The most varietal of the Snow Beer Brand is commonly referred to as 干啤 gan’pi (dry beer), and comes in a pretty little blue can. Gan Pi/dry is a common name for a number of the cheaper varieties of beers you’ll find in Mainland China. This goes back to the Tsingtao days, when the Germans taught the Chinese how to make beer. Sadly it is not quite as good as German beer…
As well as the famously bad “dry beer”, Snow produces a Pilsner, a fairly decent stout (dark beer) and of course the holy grail for any beer enthusiast: draft beer.
The draft version of the beervcan be a bit hit, or miss in China, but when drinking around the North Korean Borderlands a cool glass of Draft Snow Beer goes great with some Dandong Street Food.
Sadly when it comes to percentages Snow Beer is not all that strong. It could be compared with making love in canoe, as in its “f-ing close to water”! It is on average 2.5% to 4.5% on the pilsner end.
Where can I buy Snow Beer?
Pretty much everywhere, although you will see it most prevalently in the North-East of China. If you are traveling by train through China, or indeed to North Korea, finding Snow is a nice safe bet!
You will find this beer throughout the land in most convenience stores.
How much does Snow Beer cost?
It is cheap as hell, with a big bottle, or the little can coming out at around 40 cents US, or rather 2.5 RMB. Of course if you want to go to a dodgy KTV, nightclub, or classic Chinese bar featuring awful music you could spend up to $10 on a bottle. Don’t do this kids, buy a nice beer instead!
How is Snow Beer served?
In classic Chinese style, the beer is served in a big 600 ml bottle or in a 330 ml blue can. In China, the classic style is to serve beer with small hobbit style glasses. Instead of enjoying your beer, you do multiple toasts, or as we call it here “gan bei” (literally dry glass), where you neck the (very) small glass in one go. I am not a fan of the small glass.
Another heartbreaking element of drinking beer in China is that you are asked if you want warm or cold beer! Cold drinks get a bad rep in China, it is all about the whole ying and yang thing. You’ll often find beer in fridges, but with the fridge turned off… Heartbreaking!
How much Snow Beer is sold every year?
Snow Beer sells over $100 million worth of beer each year, and has been the best selling beer in the world since 2008. In fact Snow sells twice as much as its nearest rival, Budweiser. Even if you you combined the sales of Budweiser, and the even worse Bud Light, Snow would still outsell it by over $25 million. These are some really scary statistics!
Can you get Snow Beer outside of China?
Generally, the Chinese export beer of choice is Tsingtao, from Qingdao, which at times can be of high quality. Snow is often available in places with a high population of Chinese people, which granted is a lot of the world! While you can find Tsingtao around the world in regular liquor stores, you won’t find snow there, but you might bump into it in a Chinese specialty store.
Is The Beer good?
Well, how to put this? Is the best selling beer in the world any good? No, no, it is not any good. But before I slam Snow Beer, I’ll start by at least giving evidence!
Snow Beer in my opinion at least is weak (2.5%), and rather watery. If I had to get a Chinese beer I would opt for Harbin, or as a second choice the most famous Chinese beer Tsingtao.
Is there anything good about Snow Beer?
Well, it is the best selling beer in the world, so there must be a reason right?
The main reason that Snow is so popular is that China is huge, and drinks a lot of beer, but of course there is more to the story than that.
This Beer is very easy to drink, and cheap, which essentially makes it perfect for the Chinese style of drinking, which is to make lots of toasts, down your drink and keep going. In this respects, Snow Beer is the ideal drink, with you more likely to get an inflamed bladder, piss yourself, or getting bloated than actually getting drunk on it. So not the best beer in China, but also far from the worst beer in China too.
Oh and did we mention? It is but a mere 120 calories, which means that Snow Beer is almost Keto friendly! Among other fabulous diets…
It is of course nowhere near as good as North Korean beer, something you can find out yourself if you join any of our tours to the DPRK!