When traveling either within the U.S. or outside the country, I typically look for which brands of beer are sold in the area, as I’m sure others in the beer industry do likewise. Call it a habit, but brands particular to an area characteristically tell a story of that region’s beer industry.
Several weeks ago, I visited the Dead Sea in Israel. While there I encountered the “Lowest Bar in the World,” (honestly, the name of the bar) which was located 420 meters below sea level. The Dead Sea is visited annually by tens of thousands of people from all over the world. This bar, the only one located at the Dead Sea, offered two styles of Israel’s Gold Star beer, in addition to Stella, Heineken, and Weihenstephaner. The bar also offered Corona, Tistango, Carlsberg, and Paulaner in bottles. Obviously, visitors to the Dead Sea were coming from all parts of the world, so this selection of global beers made sense…beers from all over the world for the people from all over the world.
Such was typical of our trip to Israel: massive crowds of tourists lined up at every historical and religious site. At times, it felt like the Super Bowl on steroids. At each site we visited, and at the hotels where we stayed, the restaurants served multiple brands of beer, with the lead offerings provided by Gold Star’s two brands, followed by Heineken and Stella, all of which were on draft.
A majority of the tourists were Americans; however, one could not find a single American beer! No Budweiser, no Coors, and no Miller, much less any other brand. The question is: why would such global companies, including ABInBev and MolsonCoors, not have beer in Israel considering the international tourism? The simple answer might be that these global breweries look at countries such as Israel as a second-tier market. When one reviews the global markets in the media, most articles deal directly with China. It seems many breweries have their eye on China and that country’s massive population. And if the focus is not on China, then it is on India, Africa, or South America. If a global brewery was intent on expanding or building their flagship brand, it would seem the international visitors to Israel would be a natural go-to place. At least the Europeans seem to see it that way.
Traveling around the world is one thing, but to be home is something special.