So Inside Value pick Anheuser-Busch (NYSE:BUD) is No. 3, huh? "The world's third-largest brewer?"

OK, granted. By volume of beer produced, worldwide, Bud may well be No. 3.

But I pity the fools (small "f") who invest in Nos. 1 and 2 -- because those "leaders" aren't worth following. SABMiller and InBev/AmBev (NYSE:ABV) may have the edge when it comes to transforming barley and hops into mass quantities of beverage. But when it comes to distilling that beer into profits, ol' A-B beats them hands down.

And that's what we're all about, as investors -- finding the companies that do the best job of creating profits. Over time, those are the ones that will earn us the most money.

Think about it. Which would you rather own -- market share-leading General Motors (NYSE:GM), or No. 2 Toyota (NYSE:TM)? If your guiding criterion is buying the guy that shoves the most product out the door at any price, then the choice is clear: Buy GM and its negative-2% profit margin. But if you prefer to invest in profitable companies, you know exactly what to do: Buy Toyota and its 6.9% margin. It's the same in any industry: You buy the companies that make the profits.

And as for beer going out of fashion -- puh-leeze. Leave aside for a moment that wine and liquor are more heavily regulated than is beer, giving beer a built-in advantage. The fact of the matter is that all three of these beverage types have been around for more than 6,000 years. Trends may favor one over the other for a year or 10 at a time, but no one will ever replace the others.

So I say: Forget the doomsday scenarios. Chill out, and grab yourself a cold Bud.

Wait! You're not done. This is just a quarter of the Duel! Don't miss the Bull and Bear opening arguments and the Bear rebuttal. Even when you're done, you're still not done. You can vote and let us know who you think won this Duel.

Fool contributor Rich Smith does not own shares of any company named above. If he did, The Motley Fool would require him to tell you so. We're sticklers about things like that.