DI Annual Bar Report: Beer

25 January, 2017

Despite the craft movement it’s the big names that dominate. Hamish Smith explains why

Having been dethroned by Peroni last time out, Heineken has reclaimed its crown. It’s a dynastical return – since we’ve been polling bars on beer, Heineken has been the number one brand five years out of six. Through its does-what-it-says-on-the-beer-tin flavour consistency and trade investment, Heineken has stood strong amid today’s anti-establishment craft uprising.

Corona, Stella Artois and Peroni are close rivals. Corona’s lime serve continues to give it a point of difference, while Stella Artois has improved its premium credentials with its Perfect Serve ritual.

Peroni, meanwhile, has gone one step deeper into the bar world with its House of Peroni initiative, presenting the brand as an essential ingredient of Italian aperitivo culture. With the likes of Simone Caporale fronting the Peroni push, we can expect more Peroni Negronis in the future.

The great trick here is that each of these global lager brands have been successful in creating dual images, somehow ensuring their beer isn’t out of place in a supermarket or an elite bar.

You’ll have noticed this list is dominated by big-brand lagers, with possibly only Anchor legitimately of a scale to be called craft. So has the craft revolution merely marched by the windows of the world’s best bars? The answer is no – these bars commonly sell local brews, but in a global poll you are unlikely to find many bars that serve the same craft beers.

The fragmentation of the beer category thus sees brewers with global reach and volume prevail in our poll. The trending list often provides a crystal ball to the future and that future appears to be world-famous, mainstream-pleasers continuing to be present in the world’s best bars.



The Drinks International Annual Bar Report looks to gauge the buying habits of the best bars in the world by conducting a survey of their owners, head bartenders and bar managers.

The bars that took part – what we refer to as the best bars in the world – are a sample of 108 bars that finished in the top 250 places of the World’s 50 Best Bars survey, now owned by William Reed Business Media. Given the depth and scope of The World’s 50 Best Bars poll (voted for by 476 global bar experts) we feel this is the most credible place to source our sample of bars.

In each instance we asked the bartender to rank their three best selling products in each category, giving us an indication of the brands that are selling best.

As we know, a best selling brand, even in the best bars in the world, earns its place on more than taste, so we also wanted to know the brands that are not necessarily doing huge volumes but have cool-appeal right now. This is where the Trending brands come in. These are the brands customers are increasingly asking for, perhaps because of word of mouth, or even on bartenders’ recommendations.

For more on the methodology see How we did it

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