The Brewers Association is a trade group that works to “promote and protect the U.S. craft brewing community’s interests.” Recently a BA’s Export Development Program went to China to showcase American craft beer in Shanghai and Beijing. Obviously, China’s 1.3 billion citizens represent a huge potential market for any product, including beer.
Here’s the press release:
Boulder, Colorado- December 16, 2008 – With the success of the American craft beer movement in the United States and ever-growing interest in Europe, the Brewers Association again turned its attention to the burgeoning Chinese market. During the week of December 8, 2008, the BA’s Export Development Program (EDP) showcased American craft beer in Shanghai and Beijing. The trip promoted craft beer for the first time in China’s capital city, while expanding on the previous activity conducted in the country’s financial center. The BA’s efforts were highlighted by an unexpected visit with, and support from, U.S. Secretary of Agriculture, Ed Schafer.
“We are excited about the possibility of exposing more people in China to the flavor and diversity of American craft beer,” said Brewers Association Vice President Bob Pease. Through craft beer seminars held in Shanghai and Beijing, the Chinese beer trade and media were introduced to different styles of American craft beer. Pease added, “American craft beer is gaining traction in this market, but much of the trade and media are still unaware of the unique characteristics, numerous styles and superior quality of American craft beer compared to beers that are more readily available.”
The seminars, with content provided by the Siebel Institute, offered information on beer styles, ingredients, storage and handling, and food and beer pairing. Six beers were sampled during each seminar with the final three beers paired with Western and Asian foods. Five American craft breweries currently export to China, supplying 20 brands to the marketplace.
To date, the Export Development Program has been able to promote its members’ beer in Scandinavia, the Netherlands, Italy, the United Kingdom, Canada, China, Japan, Australia and Germany. Today, exported beer from American craft brewers is in demand with over 50% more sales in 2007 than in 2006. this was the Brewers Association’s second visit to China. American craft beer sales grew four times from 2007 to 2008 in China with more than 80 on-premise establishments and 50 retailers carrying products today.
I’ve tasted a couple of Chinese beers and I have to say, they could learn a thing or two from craft brewers.