(Sorry to have hijacked this thread lads, I realise this has nothing to do with Canada!)
Yes, Fosters is our exported beer, and yes, we don't drink much of it because it we think it's crap!
But that's not why we export it. In the mid-1980's, Fosters was owned by a particularly entrepreneurial businessman who realised the world market did not have nor recognise an Australian beer.
Afterall, the world was familiar with Guinness (Ireland), Budweiser (USA), Heineken (Holland), Steinlager (NZ), etc, etc. So there was a market readymade for an Aussie beer.
Now Fosters is a particularly mild lager - it is certainly less full-flavoured (?) than most of the beers we brew here - and this made it less challenging and more attractive to the international palate. (This is the same reason why Glenfiddich continues to be the world's biggest selling malt, long after others have become so widely available).
Also, Fosters is a reasonably marketable name, whereas I don't think you'll ever see "Cane Toad Lager" get worldwide acclaim.
So in summary:
1. An entrepreneurial businessman who saw a market
2. A beer which isn't too challenging to the average palate
3. A name that is simple, distinctive, and marketable.
THAT'S WHY it is Australia's top exported beer.....nothing to do with the fact that we hate it!
I know you're active in the whisky festival scene in the UK Bruce, so why not have a great holiday next August and come and join us here in Sydney for our second Whisky Convention! There'll be an absolute smorgasboard of scottish single malts, masterclasses run by John Grant of Glenfarclas, Michael Urquhart of Gordon & MacPhail, and - best of all - you can try a decent Australian malt!
Cheers & beers,