Top 50 Beer Brands

One of
our clients is a large chain of licensed premise so we try and keep
abreast of things by reading the relevant trade publications including The Publican who recently commissioned some research into the UK’s top 50 beer brands.


Normally we see this sort of research as being consumer focussed but
in this instance the information was gathered from a group of 500
licensees who were asked what brands they would stock if given a
completely free choice regardless of price or availability.


I’m unsure what the research hoped to achieve but none the less it
is still an interetsing role call of beer brands. One thing that did
strike me is that there isn’t a cask bitter in the top ten.


The Top 50 Beer Brands

1. Carling
2. Foster’s
3. Guinness
4. Stella Artois
5. John Smith’s
6. Tennent’s
7. Carlsberg
8. Kronenbourg 1664
9. Beck’s Vier
10. Peroni
11. London Pride
12. Budweiser
13. Greene King IPA
14. Worthington’s Creamflow
15. Harvey’s Best
16. Belhaven Best
17. Tetley Smooth
18. Grolsch
19. = Abbott Ale, Sharp’s Doom Bar, Heineken
22. Amstel
23. = Carlsberg Export, Timothy Taylor Landlord
25. = Black Sheep Bitter, Budvar, San Miguel
28. = Bombardier, Woodforde’s Wherry
30. = Adnams Bitter, Wadworth 6X
32. Staropramen
33. = Coors Fine Light, Hoegaarden, Holsten Pils
36. = Deuchars IPA, Bass
38. = Beck’s, Miller Genuine Draft
40. = Corona, Leffe, Kirin, Marston’s Pedigree, Shepherd Neame Spitfire, St Austell Tribute
47. = Boddingtons, Copper Dragon Best, Old Speckled Hen, Otter
50. Courage Best


Although the list includes some micro-brewed beers, the majority of licensees want the brands that excite consumers and have the marketing budgets
to back that up. What is slightly worrying is that of all the beer
brands listed there are only seven that I haven’t tried yet…..still
it’s nearly the weekend!

  • Mike Page

    You’ll probably find that this licensee research shows what landlords expect the great british drinker to quaff, hence the plethora of lager in the top 10, only punctuated by the ever present Guinness and the ‘dish water’ that is John Smith’s. These are, in my humble experience, the only options to the non-lager drinking real ale brigade that you’ll find in many locals outside out great capital.
    It’s all really to do with what shifts in big enough quantities and a big enough margin. If landlords were really looking at what quality beers they’d like to stock, irrespective of quantity shifted, I’m sure you’d find more real ales there.

  • I would suggest a national blind taste test for the licensees to see if they can tell which beer is which. Of course this would get harder as the day drags on, especially if they need to taste 50 beers. I would suggest five brands per day at a time. I am sure there will be no end of volunteers for such an arduous task.

  • The biggest news surely is that Heineken is sitting at no. 19 tied with an obscure Cornish Ale? What happened? No good ads for ages? Another global brand who forgot to be interesting?

  • Mike Page

    I wouldn’t call Sharp’s Doom Bar obscure. It’s won national awards y’know. It may not be that prevalent in London, but does that make it obscure? A darned fine pint as well.

  • Mike Page

    Biggest surprises for me were Old Specky and Marston’s Ped being so low down. Boddies too, as I rate that along the same lines as John Smith’s – and that made it into the top 10.

    Heineken is not up there as they totally changed tack recently to get away from the British lager lout image is seemed to sustain. Looks like it worked.