China to become world’s largest craft beer market

By Nicholas Robinson

- Last updated on GMT

Set sail: small-scale craft beers are of increased interest to China
Set sail: small-scale craft beers are of increased interest to China

Related tags Craft beer International trade Alcoholic beverage Beer

Drinkers in China are set to chug more beer than elsewhere in the world, with demand for craft increasing significantly, a new report has claimed.

Demand for craft beer in China, which is already the biggest consumer of alcohol in the world, is at an all-time high and will make the country the biggest global drinker of beer in value terms this year, according research by Drink Sector.

FIND OUT: The latest trends on craft beer at The Morning Advertiser’s ​Future Trends: Beer and Cider event on 26 June in London

In recent years, China relied on imports from large breweries, particularly those in Germany, which accounted for almost half of all beer imports.

Future Trends: Beer and Cider

Craft beer will be a big focus at this year's Future Trends: Beer and Cider event, which will feature exclusive talks on:

  • Beer and cider overview – CGA Strategy
  • Beer trends – SIBA
  • The cask panel debate
  • Fruit beer – a rising trend?
  • Own-brew
  • Exporting to China

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Demanding more beer

This trend, however, is declining now consumers are demanding more beer to be brewed by smaller producers both in and out of the country, according to the report.

The report said: “In particular, small and medium-sized craft breweries are well suited to target their brands in China at a niche segment of affluent and middle-class consumers who desire to trade up through purchases of premium foreign products.”

Key findings in the research, which outlines the feasibility of exporting to the country, showed China’s beer market would surpass that of the United States in value this year.

There is also an increasing number of domestic brewers launching in the country, which is a well-documented trend in the west.

Premium foreign products

A growing number of middle-income consumers, who desire to trade up through purchases of foreign and premium foreign products, is fuelling the growth, the report said.

Meanwhile, the UK became the second largest importer of American craft beer​, according to the US-based Brewers Association this month.

The UK had jumped two places up the list of the biggest importers of US craft beer in the past 12 months, it said.

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