China is already the biggest beer market in the world by volume—it overtook the US in 2002 and is already twice as large, according to Euromonitor. By value, the US still leads, but last year, the Chinese market was worth around 80% as much as America’s and Euromonitor predicts it will overtake the world’s richest country by 2017. “As the legal drinking age population is expected to grow faster in China than in the USA over 2013–2018 in absolute terms, brewers will be capturing prospective demand that has been dormant for years,” said Amin Alkhatib, a drinks analyst at Euromonitor.
In data the analysis firm provided to Quartz, these are the five biggest brands in China by volume of beer sold.
Four out of five are in the list of the world’s top 10 most drunk beers by volume. And of the five, only one is fully owned by a Western company. Harbin belongs to Belgium’s Anheuser-Busch InBev, which is the biggest beermaker in the world. It owns practically every beer you’ve ever heard of, from Budweiser to Stella Artois to Beck’s. (Snow is made by a joint venture between AB Inbev’s rival, SABMiller, and a Chinese firm, China Resources.)
In terms of overall sales, there are two foreign companies among the biggest beer sellers in China.
It is the huge dominance of Snow that keeps its co-owner, China Resources, on top of the pack. Here is a slightly odd commercial from 2004 for Snow.
And in case you’re wondering, the picture above is of Jin Songhao, who holds the Guinness world record for the longest ice bath (120 minutes) and the longest time spent in direct full body contact with snow (46 minutes), both set in 2011.