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Other Beer Nations: A Globeful of Pale Lagers

Beer is a universal beverage and a commodity that can be manufactured to a specification. This specification usually calls for a proportion of malted barley, mixed with cheaper grains

of local availability such as rice, wheat, barley, and maize. Often the malt and hops will be imported, as well as the brewing technology and industrial plant. The rest of the countries that follow in this section are not among the historical brewing nations, but they all produce beers that importers have decided to bring in from their home countries. In many cases it will be for the simple reason that there is enough of an emigrant population in the United States that yearns for a beer that reminds them of home. In other cases the beer in question may in fact be an outstanding specialty brew that will appeal to connoisseurs. Such examples can be produced in unexpected places. For instance, outstanding examples of Schwarz ("Black") beers, a style that originated in the Thüringen region of Eastern Germany, are brewed in Japan (Sapporo Black Beer) and Brazil (Xingu).

However, the majority of beers in this section are pale lagers, brewed in a distinctly international style that will be instantly familiar to any beer drinker. Beer does transcend many cultures. In most parts of the world, even if the local cuisine might lean heavily on animals not normally considered a source of dietary protein, one can generally console oneself with a pale, lightly hopped, and refreshing lager to quench one’s thirst.

The imported beer that U.S. consumers will be most likely to drink will come from Mexico, and may well be drunk with a piece of lime wedged in the neck. Corona is the largest selling imported beer in the U.S. The well-established large-scale Mexican brewing industry has found a receptive market for its wares among both the Hispanic population and mainstream beer drinkers.

Canada has become a popular staging post for some brands from abroad. For example Carlton and United Breweries of Australia produces its popular Foster’s brand of lager in Canada for the U.S. market. This confers a distinct advantage over producing the same beer in the U.S.: such beers may carry the words "Imported" emblazoned across the packaging. Many Americans will pay a premium for an "import" in the belief such beers have a cachet that domestic beers do not.

Interestingly, we have seen a healthy range of craft beers from around the world in the last several years. Most are clearly inspired by the craft beer movement in the US and some are utilizing traditional or even ancient local brewing techniques and special regional ingredients.

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