I’ve never had a Snow. Have you? I’ve only learned of it today.
Snow is one of the biggest selling beers in the world. A lager, it’s brewed and sold in China. Some say it’s the best-selling beer but others argue that Snow breweries include multiple ranges of beers, and that if you let Budweiser include all its variations as a single brand, Bud is selling more. Impressively, perhaps, Snow was only introduced in 1993. It’s climbed fast but then, it has state sponsorship to grow and it’s offered in a unique market: China.
As I only rarely drink lagers, I don’t believe I’m missing much by not tasting Beer, a belief that’s flat-out wrong. I don’t know what the beer will taste like. I’m assuming that such a mass-produced lager isn’t going to open my eyes and make me weep with joy at its taste. I could be wrong, though. I understand from reviews of Snow, it has a low alcoholic content and has a mild flavor, tasting like an mass-produced American beer. Those aren’t attributes I seek in a beer.
I learned about Snow courtesy of the big news. Asahi, the Japanese company that brews beers, is buying five beer brands from Anheuser-Busch InBev, the giant beer octopus. Anheuser-Busch, of course, is the American brewer. We know them from their beers like Anheuser-Busch. A-B is owned by Anheuser-Busch InBev, a name that flows like an IPA off the tongue. InBev, of course, is the giant international brewing company. Anheuser-Busch InBev acquired SABMiller in 2015. SABMiller brews Fosters, the Australian lager, and Miller, the American lager.
All of this is marginally depressing. I decry larger and larger acquisitions. I’ve been sucked up into the guts of Tyco and IBM and slightly smaller but still large corporations through acquisitions. Each time, they enthused about how they loved our corporate culture and wanted to change their company culture to incorporate our culture, which is absolute bullshit. Taste it once, you don’t need to taste it again. Then the feasting began. Eventually all that was left of the acquired company’s culture is a few picked over bones, like the name and a handful of employees.
I also decry malls, for kind of the same reasons. Fly to any city and go to the malls and the variations between them are smaller than a pubic hair. They really only change when you go into the fringes of the poor and wealthy. Try it sometime.
These beer mergers and acquisitions would depress me more if I weren’t in the humble Rogue Valley, home of sensational breweries pumping out interesting and tasteful variations on lagers, pilsners, porters, stouts, porters, IPAs, ales and the like. I also live not far from Bend, with its happening beer scene, and awesome Portland. What worries me most is that such acquisitions are often harbingers of things to come. What keeps me sane is that there are many home and craft brewers who keep taking the decision to take their creations public.
A toast to those bold souls. May they ever brew on.