BrewDog signs deal for Budweiser to brew its beers in China

By Gary Lloyd

- Last updated on GMT

Targeting China: BrewDog James Watt says the business is aiming to open up to 10 bars in five years
Targeting China: BrewDog James Watt says the business is aiming to open up to 10 bars in five years

Related tags Craft beer Beer Lager Pubco + head office Multi-site pub operators

BrewDog has inked a deal with Budweiser so the giant beer business can brew three of the Scottish company’s headline beers, in a bid to take advantage of the rapidly expanding market in China.

The Ellon-based brewer and pub operator also said it wants to open up to 10 BrewDog bars in China during the next five years.

Co-founder and chief executive James Watt said that although a fifth of the world’s beer is drunk in China, BrewDog share there is less than 1% of its sales and the business is determined to change that.

He said its Punk IPA, Hazy Jane and Elvis Juice beers will be made in by Bud China, overseen by BrewDog’s master brewers and team.

He said BrewDog’s mission is to ensure they get its beers into as many people’s hands as possible all around the world and that going global as an independent is “incredibly tough” in a market dominated by beer giants.

Key geographies

He explained: “One of our strategies which enables us to do just that is to work with larger beer companies as partners in key geographies. We have long-standing partnerships in place with Molson Coors, Asahi, Heineken, Estrella Galicia, Warsteiner and Swinkels.

“These partnerships enable us to get our beer into more people’s hands, and in some cases brew our beer far closer to the end consumer which is great for beer quality and importantly lower impact for our planet.

“Not everyone will agree with our strategy here but it’s helped us to become the world’s leading independent beer brand.

“Today, we are excited to share the news of the next partnership – one that will bring our beers to every corner of the world’s biggest beer market. China. About a fifth of the world’s beer is drunk in China, and yet the country accounts for less than one per cent of our global sales – this is something we are determined to change.”

He said BrewDog opened its bar in Shanghai in 2020 but added the business has barely scratched the surface.

Fast track business

He continued: “China is one of those markets where you really need to work with an established partner who has a sales and distribution infrastructure in place and local market knowledge. That’s why we’re really pleased to have signed a partnership agreement with Bud China to enable us to fast track our Chinese business.

“Craft beer is growing massively in China – the market is about ten times bigger than it was a decade ago – so this is a huge deal for our business and our ambitions going forward.”

He added by making beer closer to its customers overseas, as it does in the US, Germany and Australia, it can offer a fresher product that is more environmentally healthy too. 

“We’re also looking to open up to ten BrewDog bars in China over the next five years to help showcase everything we love about craft beer to new audiences,” Watt said.

“We’ve always wanted to go for growth in China – now we can do it from a position of strength, while remaining fiercely independent.”

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