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“Beer is one of the world’s most powerful drinks”: A conversation with AB InBev Master Cicerone Shane McNamara

Posted: August 01, 2023
Aerial photo of farmland and a river
Aerial photo of farmland and a river
Aerial photo of farmland and a river

At AB InBev we are powered by great people. Our “FutureMakers” series tells the stories of colleagues who are always looking forward and dreaming bigger to make a meaningful impact on the world.

Ahead of International Beer Day on August 4, we’re checking in with Shane McNamara, one of only 22 people in the world to earn Master Cicerone certification, recognizing extraordinary knowledge and expertise in beer, brewing, tasting and pairing. As our Director for Beer Passion and Beyond Beer Innovation, Shane looks after beer education and engagement for our approximately 167,000 colleagues globally.

What’s special about International Beer Day?
First, it’s a celebration of one of the world’s oldest and most universally enjoyed beverages. It’s also a day to tip our hats to the more than 23 million people1 employed by the beer industry. It's an opportunity to appreciate different cultures through their unique beer styles and acknowledge the communal enjoyment that beer fosters across borders. For me, it's a day of unity and joy, brought about by a millennia-old beverage: beer.

So there’s a lot more to beer than people might realize?
It truly is one of the world’s most powerful drinks. It’s responsible for 1 in 110 jobs globally2, from the farming of raw materials to brewing, distribution, marketing and sales. Through taxes, our breweries and operations, beer is a major contributor to local economies. The craft beer revolution has further diversified the sector, encouraged entrepreneurship and created even more employment opportunities.

Does beer have a ‘superpower’ when compared to other drinks?
Beer is unique due to its wide range of flavors and styles, coupled with its generally lower alcohol content. It’s pretty incredible how four simple ingredients (malt, hops, yeast and water) can make this drink taste like coffee, lychee, cloves or even white bread. That versatility makes beer perfect for different occasions, food pairings and seasons. Plus, beer doesn’t have to be high in alcohol to be bold in flavor – people are often surprised by the superior taste of no- and low-alcohol beers.

Last, what’s one of your favorite things about beer?
How it brings people together. In most parts of the world, beer is deeply connected to so many social occasions, be it watching sports, hanging out at a family barbecue, or my favorite, catching up with friends at a pub. It’s the beverage most associated with friendship, celebration and relaxation, and I think nothing is better than that.

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