Wednesday, April 25, 2007

OUR TREASURES: San Miguel Beer

A National Icon. San Miguel beer has become one of the national icons of the Philippines. Just like our Singha here in Thailand, Tiger in Singapore, BeerLao in Laos or 333 in Vietnam. Filipinos would howl high and low when they see this national symbol abroad, as my friends do in HongKong, Singapore, Australia and especially Europe – where the true origin of this beer is being disputed.

The internet is full of forums discussing the true origin of this beer. Europeans and Latinos would be under fire if they say that San Miguel is indeed a Spanish beer. Filipinos would diligently counter-attack the statement saying otherwise. You would see how far they would go with their vigilance to protect their national icon! I've seen my Filipino friends point and get excited at the sight of a truck delivering San Miguel in European cities! LOL.

The first time I saw San Miguel mass marketed in Thailand was on Songkran 2006. I'm used to seeing this beer only in hotels & expensive clubs. I wanted to take advantage of the mass price, I bought loads of it in cans! Didn’t put much attention on the new label either because I'm used to the red and green fonts. Now it’s white-blue-silver. Who cares? What the heck!

Where is its true origin? Let’s investigate... I lived for years in Spain and as far as I know, just like everybody else – it’s a Spanish beer. Spain is Europe’s 3rd largest beer producer next only to Germany and the UK and San Miguel is Spain’s biggest beer export! I always knew that this beer is produced in Malaga – that beautiful coastal city in Andalusia.

Anyway, there's a lot of versions relating to the origin of this beer. One says that the very first Philippine San Miguel beer was produced in Manila in 1890 by Spanish monks using traditional methods in a district called San Miguel according to records. Another version says it was first brewed by a German Brew Master using traditional Bavarian methods under a royal Spanish grant.

And the very first Spanish San Miguel beer was produced by San Miguel Fabricas de Cerveza y Malta S.A. in Malaga in 1957 (but why does it say 1516 on it's label?).

So there! You got your answer BUT!....there’s a big BUT here….

Notice the logos on these two San Miguel beers.

See the difference? They got similar (but different) fonts. And notice the icons? The first one got a coat of arms and the other got a sailing galleon! See?

These San Miguel beers are obviously two different beers! And that’s the truth! Let’s not lie to ourselves. These beers are produced by two companies that doesn’t have anything to do with each other! Face it! Goddammit!

San Miguel beers in Europe, Mexico and Latin America would most likely be a Spanish San Miguel. So next time, don’t attack anyone who says that the San Miguel on their hand is a Spanish beer. Look at the label first before indulging into a looooong fucken useless discussion! I’m blogging this because I'm upset! There was a ridiculously patriotic dude earlier at the bar. I don't wanna be called stupid! -- There! Who's stupid now?


I’m out of here! Take that!


Anonymous said...

San Miguel in Spain has the same origins as San Miguel in the Philippines. However, since 1953 the brewery in Spain has been under separate ownership and no longer has any connections with San Miguel Corp Philippines. The beer in Spain is brewed by San Miguel Fabricas de Cerveza y Malta S.A., part of the San Miguel-Mahou group.

San Miguel Beer Division (SMBD) is a division of San Miguel Corporation, the largest food and beverage company in Southeast Asia.
It has facilities in China, Vietnam, Indonesia, Thailand and Australia.

Anonymous said...

SMBD as opened 1890 and among many of it owners there's even the Government of the Philippines.

Anonymous said...

Im sorry to disappoint you but i worked with san miguel corporation before. San Miguel spain was brought over from the phils to spain by the shareholders of La Segarra. They signed the "manila agreement" with the then owner Don Soriano of San Miguel Philippines. as a result of the agreement,La Segarra became an independent brewer. "La Segarra" changed its name to "San Miguel, Fábricas de d Cerveza y Malta, S.A." and produces its first bottle of San Miguel Especial at its Lleida brewery. -- for your info you can go to spanish san mig history site.
Moreover it is correct to say .. they are two different brand names now. But the original concoction of san mig spain is from the phils.

KUKU said...

lol. yeah he/she is one of those kind. he/she is so knowledgeable that he chose himself to remain anonymous? hahahahaha. ate anonymous umayos-ayos ka nga! (siguro naman alam mo rin na nakikita ng mga bloggers ang IP address natin?)

And to you river dahlin'--3 snaps in the air to you. ur blog is entertaining! you go girl! snap-snap-snap! lol.

Brian said...

The 2 beers from Spain and Philippines have no connection at present time. However, the San Miguel from Spain has its roots from Manila. La Segarra was let loose by San Miguel Corp, Phils in 1953 by signing the ´The Manila Agreement´. It then later changed its name to "San Miguel, Fábricas de Cerveza y Malta, S.A." and produced its first bottle of San Miguel Especial at its Lleida brewery. Sorry to disappoint the Spaniards but the beer has its roots from another country. You could even taste the similarity. I know I am just repeating what was said previously but this time not writing anonymously. I live in Norway and even here they know the story behind the Spanish San Miguel and its relation to San Miguel Philippines. The San Miguel of Spain has quite a short history with a lot of merging with other companies one of which is Mahou. The company was not 100 % Spanish owned until 2005 when Danone, producers of evian etc, sold all its company holdings. San Miguel 1516 got its name from the Bavarian Purity law of 1516 but is actually released first in 1993. This law concerns standards for the sale and composition of beer, originated in the city of Ingolstadt in the duchy of Bavaria on April 23, 1516. Hope this helps

Anonymous said...

Interesting facts up there.

Sometimes the truth we know is only part of the whole truth unless we dig enough of what is real and authetic facts behind it.

But nonetheless, great writing and great blog. I'm a newbie here and I'm not a blogger. Just an enthusiastic reader. I hope my anonymity does not serve me reproval like the first anonymous above.

Keep the cool and peace amongst SEASIAN's otherwise the essence of this great blog would be tainted if we keep cursing everyone for every featured blog entry.

kindest regards

Carlos Javier said...

Intersting blog, here. I have actually also written a blog about the beers of ASEAN that I have tasted, and as an adjunct to that I had to research the origins of the San Miguel Beer currently popular in Spain.

I found the facts stated by Brian (see above) at San Miguel-Mahou's website. So it is indeed true that San Miguel in Spain has Filipino origins, but the Philippine conglomerate San Miguel was in turn also founded by a Spaniard, Enrique Barretto y de Ycaza.

On the strength of a Royal grant Barretto opened La Fabrica de Cerveza de San Miguel on 29 September 1890 at 6 Calzada de Malacañang in Manila, near the then-Palace of the Governor-General of the Philippines. He named Southeast Asia's first brewery after the neighborhood of Manila in which he lived.

Pisanu for BISEAN said...


QUOTE: ***Writing articles should be based on "facts" and not on "assumptions".

RESPONSE: This is a BLOG. YOU ASSHOLE! Do you know what is a blog? And we never claim we are journalists. You moron! YOUR ARROGANCE WILL BRING YOU DOWN...but I think it already did. GOODBYE. You're not welcome here.

**I have the right to call you names because you did not leave yours and a link. You arrogant ho! You are giving the Philippines a bad name.**

Brent a.k.a. yourkidatheart said...

Gahahahahahahah! Cool lang kayo! Hmm... None of you guys were under the effect of alcohol while typing on your keyboards last year eh? Jajajajaja! I mean... Hahahahaha!

Dean Heinrich said...



Phil Tranco said...

I have a Manila Newspaper annual from 1919 (electronic), that has an ad for SMB that says,"The Beer That Made Manila Famous", and lists the following beers under production, "Gold Ribbon, Liberty Malt Beverage, and Rizal". No mention of SMB. If you want a copy give me an address to send to.

Anonymous said...

be cool. i think everyboy is under he influence of "SMB". kudos to SMB..LOL

carranza, antonio y magno said...

Have friends from Korea and they also enjoy SMB. Some even say that they prefer it over soju (although soju belongs to a different category coz it's obviously not malt)........

.....what I am saying is, this is another proof the SMB esp SanMig Lite is well loved by people all over the world.......

Anonymous said...

La Segarra was let loose by San Miguel Corp, Phils in 1953 by signing the ´The Manila Agreement´. It then later changed its name to "San Miguel, Fábricas de Cerveza y Malta, S.A."

but i think that there may have the possibility to have it back, and Only Danding Cojuanco can return that mahou san miguel to its filipino roots, same as what he used to do-acquiring companies even from australia.

I even think that if we compare these two san miguels popular, the one from manila is the most popular even the whole world than the one in spain.

San miguel Corporation is owned not just by Danding, but the stockholders including the church, the government, and even the sorianos and the ayalas (if possible).

Anonymous said...

San Miguel is undoubtedly Filipino. Don't dispute por favor.

Anonymous said...

"In 1953, San Miguel Philippines granted branding rights for Europe and Mediterranean Africa to San Miguel Spain, giving rise to a new Spanish brewing affiliate in 1957."

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