Beer for Thought

December 19th 2022 By Aaron Wise 2 minute read

I came across an article earlier that revealed the majority of foreign export beer in the UK is brewed and bottled a little closer to home than you may think. It turns out large corporations such as Anheuser-Busch InBev and Molson Coors brew some of their beverages on UK soil.

In fact, of the ten best-selling beers in the UK this year, eight are foreign brands brewed under licence in the UK. Yes, Carling (originates in Canada), Fosters (Australia), Birra Moretti (Italy), Coors (US), Stella Artois (Belgium), Carlsberg (Denmark), San Miguel (Spain), and Amstel (Netherlands) are all brewed on UK shores. 

The same article went on to reveal that the currently popular Spanish lager Madri Excepcional is actually brewed and bottled in Yorkshire. Scandalous? For beer snobs like myself, it may seem disappointing to hear that when you’re sipping on what is perceived to be foreign ingredients that have travelled from lands far away, is actually made down the road. I sure felt that way when I learnt my crisp Mediterranean Birra Moretti is made in bleak, industrial Manchester. ‘Where is the backlash’, I thought to myself – we’re living a lie! As I continued digging a little deeper though, my viewpoint changed. 

It is significantly more environmentally friendly for big brewing corporations to produce their beer globally rather than just their country of origin – which would see billions of litres shipped every year. I can’t begin to imagine what the carbon footprint for an operation like that must add up to! There is also the argument for the ‘local’ approach, where far flung overseas breweries with operations in the UK are helping to supply us consumers with the freshest, best quality beer. This method also benefits the UK economy by providing people with jobs both in the brewery and the wider supply chain – championing British industry.

Furthermore, AB InBev's British and Irish operation, Budweiser Brewing Group UK & Ireland, which runs its UK brewery out of Magor in South Wales, claims every bottle, can and keg of Budweiser in the UK has been brewed with 100% renewable electricity. 

Same ingredients, different location – are you buying it? Old beer romantics like myself might still be a little sceptical about paying premium prices for a foreign brand that’s actually made down the road, but sometimes you have to look at the bigger picture. To see behemoth brewing companies reducing their carbon footprints, using renewable energy and supporting British industry can’t be sniffed at, even if a key reason is that it’s also cost effective for them.

I’ll raise a glass to that – even if it was made in Manchester.

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