The nation’s favourite beer has been revealed and we’re not sure how we feel about it

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Now that pub gardens are a genuine possibility again, the nation’s favourite beer is a matter of pressing concern.

After 12 months and counting of enforced bar-abstinence, no one wants their first proper pint to be a flat, lifeless dribble of piss.

Never has the need to know what’s top-quality been more urgent.

Pouring a pint in the pub Before we all return to the pub, we need to establish what is the nation’s favourite beer (Credit: Alamy/Isabella Ostelli)

What is the nation’s favourite beer?

Fortunately for any anxious pub-goers unsure where to invest that precious first pint, we have some useful data.

Information from The Morning Advertiser‘s annual drinks list now reveals which lagers are the most popular in the pub.

READ MORE: Domino’s voted the UK’s least favourite takeaway in shocking new survey

Featuring several of the biggest brands in the world, the list is a reminder that artisanal brewing has a long way to go before it can challenge the big dogs.

Ahead of the most hotly anticipated mass pub-opening ever, here are the top 12 most popular beers in British pubs. True beer connoisseurs might want to look away.

what is the nation's favourite beer Carling is the nation’s favourite beer (Credit: Alamy/PSL Images)

1. Carling

As much as it might shock beer purists, Carling is by some way the most popular pint in the country.

According to The Morning Advertiser’s information, Brits put away a whopping 1.7 million Hecto Litres (HL) of Carling in 2020.

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Considering that pubs were closed for a good chunk of the year, that stat makes for even more impressive reading.

However, while the weight of numbers is certainly impressive, it doesn’t fix the fact that Carling has been known to taste like a bubbly ashtray.

Fosters pint Fosters sold over a million HL in 2020 (Credit: Alamy/Universal Images Group North America LLC)

2. Fosters

It might be about as authentically Australian as an Outback Steakhouse, but famous Down-Under-themed lager Fosters remains incredibly popular with British drinkers.

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Second only to Carling, Brits quaffed an impressive 1.02 million HL of the so-called “amber nectar” in 2020.

That’s approximately 600,000 barrels, or about 4.5 million koalas, for anyone who’s counting.

Carlsberg pint Despite its advertising, Carlsberg is probably the third most popular lager in the UK (Credit: Alamy/Barry Mason)

3. Carlsberg Danish Pilsner

Carlsberg Danish Pilsner might have a strong case for being one of the more premium options on this list.

Given the competition, however, that might not be saying much.

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The beer that was once dubbed “probably the best in the world” is now resigned to the bronze medal position on Britain’s drinking table, with 575,000 HL.

Still, when it comes to taste, it comfortably beats number four…

nation's favourite beer Coors Light is more commonly associated with bottles than pints (Credit: Alamy/urbanbuzz)

4. Coors Light

It might have one of the most iconic advertising campaigns in recent memory, but not even an old, shirtless Jean Claude Van Damme can save Coors Light from a flavourless fourth spot on the list.

Perhaps when the most positive thing that an advert can legally say about a product is that it’s cold, we should all take it as a warning.

Still, 463,000 HL is nothing to be sniffed at.

Stella Artois pint Stella Artois glasses have a distinctive shape (Credit: Alamy/David Levenson)

5. Stella Artois

Belgium’s attempt to make British beer-drinking chic was always going to struggle to pay off.

However, despite its mid-tier popularity, Stella Artois still does impressive numbers.

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The Belgian giant is actually up one place in the 2020 rankings, rising to fifth in the country. With 461,000 HL poured, it’s hot on the heels of JCVD and the world’s (allegedly) most refreshing beer.

Peroni pint Peroni is the sixth most popular pint in the UK (Credit: Alamy/Tref)

6. Peroni

Much like Carlsberg, Peroni has done a masterful job of styling itself as the choice for discerning drinkers.

Perhaps this explains why it always seems to cost £5 plus for a pint.

Despite the price tag, however, Peroni is still an incredibly popular choice.

In 2020, for instance, customers necked 450,000 HL of the stuff, placing it in a respectable sixth position.

Amstel nation's favourite beer Amstel sold 350,000 HL of beer last year (Credit: Alamy/Kay Roxby)

7. Amstel

Maybe it’s because of its previous Champions League sponsorship, but Amstel always seems to conjure up memories of ill-advised midweek pints.

This also might explain why the Heineken subsidiary outperforms its parent brand.

In 2020, Amstel sold nearly 350,000 HL of beer in British pubs.

This places it one position higher than the equivalent 2019 list, suggesting that its popularity is only going up.


8. San Miguel

San Miguel has always been an enigmatic beer. This impression is reinforced by its impressively bizarre advertising strategy, that always seems to revolve around “journeys”, “discovery” and “voyaging”.

After a year when we’ve all been stuck on the sofa, this messaging might seem extra smug.

However, Brits don’t seem to have been too irritated by the Spanish lager, with pubs selling 326,000 HL of San Miguel in 2020.

For once, pompous talk of journeying with a beer may actually have struck close to home.

Tennents Beer Tennents is the ninth most popular beer in the country (Credit: Alamy/colinspics)

9. Tennents

It might be the ninth most popular beer in the country, but I don’t think I’ve ever had a pint of Tennents.

This is even more impressive, considering the Scottish-based brand sold 309,000 HL of beer in 2020.

Rest assured, I have made a mental note to give it a go in order to have something witty to say when the 2021 list is released.

Who says it’s not possible to broaden your horizons in the pub?

Birra Moretti Birra Moretti’s popularity is only increasing (Credit: Alamy/Home Bird)

10. Birra Moretti

Just like the other Italian entry on this list, Birra Moretti is doing a stellar (no pun intended) job of looking premium.

But unlike Peroni, it’s also managing to seem slightly more affordable.

Having it both ways is never an easy juggling act for a beer.

However, with 280,000 HL sold last year and a rapid rise up the rankings, Birra Moretti is pulling it off so far.

Heineken beer Heineken is surprisingly low on the list of the nation’s favourite beers (Credit: Alamy/Kristoffer Tripplaar)

11. Heineken

As one of the biggest beer brands in the world, it’s slightly surprising to see Heineken so low.

It might taste like you’re drinking from a shower gel bottle, but there’s no doubt that the iconic Dutch brewer is a top dog in the industry.

Still, it just goes to show that customers are prepared to pay a premium for taste.

Just ask anyone self-satisfyingly swigging a Peroni.

what is the nation's favourite beer Just 184,000 HL of Kronenbourg were sold last year in the UK (Credit: Alamy/Universal Images Group North America LLC)

12. Kronenbourg

Finally on the list of Britain’s most popular beers, we have Kronenbourg.

Again, it might surprise some to see a beer pushed by ‘King’ Eric Cantona so low in the rankings, but the British public are unequivocal in their judgement.

As it so happens, I don’t mind Kronenbourg, and so would happily count my pint among the 184,000 HL poured last year.

However, there’s no doubt that most Brits would rather guzzle a Carling than go near a Kronenbourg. Go figure.

beers in a field With pubs about to reopen, beer will soon be back on the menu for many (Credit: Pixabay)

Our verdict

However strongly you may or may not feel that Carling and Fosters are about as tempting as two-day-old tea, the British public are pretty unanimous in their beer choices.

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While we might struggle to understand why someone might order a Coors over a Kronenbourg, or any of these over an actual nice beer, it’s obvious that we are in the minority and need a long, hard look in the mirror.

I, for one, wish to take this opportunity for pubby introspection and go and try a pint of Tennents. Maybe then I’ll be suitably prepared for when things finally reopen.