How does the world's best-selling beer taste?

How does the world's best-selling beer taste?

Shanghai beer buffs give tasting tips on Snow Beer
snow beer -- main
Snow Beer easily outsells Tsingtao, China's most recognized brand in the world. Look for Snow in your neighborhood supermarket.

You can be forgiven for having never heard of Snow Beer (雪花啤酒). It sells only in mainland China, not even breaking into the Hong Kong market.

But this Beijing-based beer brand is so popular in this most populous nation that it sells more, by volume, than any other beer in the world, with consumption topping nine billion liters in 2010 -- that's "billion" with a "b." 

Its sales figure is also double that of Bud Light, which was the world's best-selling beer until 2008.

Shanghai ale aficionados share their opinions on how they feel about this Chinese institution.

More on CNNGoGuide to the best, and worst, Chinese beers
snow beer -- PatriciaName: Patricia Choong
Home town: Ipoh, Malaysia
Age: 50
Occupation: IT project manager

“I think it's light, crisp and refreshing. Very good as an initial thirst-quencher.

“But to be honest, once you have a couple of them, you'd tend to go for a heavier beer.”

snow beer -- AlyssaName: Alyssa Lim
Home town: Sydney, Australia
Age: 21
Occupation: Recently graduated in Communications

“No, this is definitely not my kind of beer. It has a really bitter aftertaste. It's flat and overall just not enjoyable.

“I guess I'd drink it if that was all that was on offer, like at a house party of a really, really cheap uni friend.”
snow beer -- Grace ChenName: Grace Chen (陈姝莉)
Home town: Chengdu
Age: 28
Occupation: Business analyst

“Although I don't drink often, having a glass of beer after dinner can still be fun.

"Snow tastes less strong than the other brands, very effervescent with a light color. Its foam and good smell can last as long as five minutes, just like a thick layer of snow floating on the bright yellow river. Besides its pleasant look, the bittersweet taste is very suitable for girls.”

snow beer -- peterName: Peter Gao (高峰)
Home town: Guangzhou
Age: 31
Occupation: Sales

“I like it. It's a clean, light taste that goes well with anything.

“I prefer Tsingtao, but Snow is second on the list. They're both refreshing and they're both well-priced.”


snow beer -- JasmineName: Jasmin Chew
Home town: Manila, Philippines
Age: 42
Occupation: Executive assistant

“Not happy with it at all. It has a bitter, rancid aftertaste.

"I tried is a few times, hoping that I'd get used to the taste. Eventually I had to just wash it down with water and other brands of beer. Really bad. Tsingtao is far superior, and Tsingtao Gold is so good.”

snow beer -- davidName: David Hong (王弘)
Home town: Shanghai
Age: 32
Occupation: Marketing

“Usually I go for Tsingtao; it's slightly fuller beer for my taste.

“But sometimes when I'm out with friends at a restaurant for dinner, we'll order Snow, sure.”


Snow is available from most Shanghai clubs and bars, and you can pick it up from your local convenience store or supermarket for under RMB 4 per can. But don't expect to find the brand in any of Shanghai's swankier bars or restaurants.

Edward Falzon is a Shanghai-based author, religious scholar and anti-theist.

Read more about Edward Falzon
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