There were 6,400 brewing facilities around the U.S. in 2019, producing the equivalent of more than 2.8 billion 24-container cases of 12-ounce cans or bottles, according to a report by the National Beer Wholesalers Association.
Clearly, we have plenty of beer of our own to drink. On the other hand, the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization reports that some 160 other countries around the world also produce beer, and 18% of what we consume annually comes from outside our borders. Some imports are among the most popular beer brands in America.
However, not all “imported” beer actually comes from where you might think it does. As American beverage companies acquire foreign brands, they are increasingly moving production to this country, at least for the beers to be sold in the U.S. market. This is particularly true for the two giants of the industry, Anheuser-Busch InBev (which owns Beck’s from Germany and Patagonia from Argentina, among other labels) and Molson Coors (Foster’s and George Killian’s Irish Red, etc.).
Today, then, when Americans quaff Foster’s — whose commercials used to brag that the name was “Australian for beer, mate” — they’re drinking a brew made in Fort Worth, Texas. And George Killian’s Irish Red? A different color is involved — Golden, Colorado. (These are the states drinking the most beer.)
The companies making “imported” beer in the U.S. claim that the product is the same as it always was. Sometimes they even import the same ingredients used in the beer’s native land.
Not surprisingly, however, consumers sometimes feel misled. In 2015, in fact, Anheuser-Busch InBev settled a class action lawsuit brought by Beck’s fans who apparently thought they were buying a beer brewed in Bremen, not St. Louis.
24/7 Tempo has assembled a list of 10 beers that you may think came from other countries but that are actually made right here. They’re not necessarily inferior in any way, but you may want to think twice before paying import prices for them.