In 2011, China was the world’s largest beer consumer for the forth t straight year, with consumption increasing 11.8 percent from the previous year to 29.13 million kiloliters. China replaced the United States as the world largest beer consumer in 2002. It surpassed Germany to move up from Number three to Number two in the mid 1990s.
Average beer consumption in China is about twenty eight liters per person per year and that figure is growing fast. It compares with consumption figures of almost hundred liters per person per year in the UK and about seventy liters in Japan.
Beer consumption was about eighteen liters a year on a per capita basis in the 1990s, compared to 84 liters in te United States and 75 liters in western Europe. Beer drinking took off in China in the 1980s and 1990s. China produced 118 million barrels of beer in 1995, a fifteen-fold increase from 1980.
Beer is the most popular alcoholic beverage in China. It is generally pretty cheap, especially the local brands. A large bottle of beer can cost as little as 25 cents. Locally-made foreign brands such as Pabst Blue Label, Carlsberg and San Miguel are also fairly cheap. Beer is often served warm. Many Americans order beer with ice, the only way they know to get a cold beer.
Beer for the most part was introduced to China by the Western colonial powers, who introduced their regional tastes, with some adaptions for local preferences.
Top beer producers in 2003: 1) China (25.1 million kiloliters, 17.1 percent of the world’s production, 7 percent increase from the previous year); 2) the United States (23.08 million kiloliters, 15.6 percent of the world’s production, 1.6 percent decrease from the previous year); 3) Germany (10.53 million kiloliters, 6 percent of the world’s production, 2.1 percent decrease from the previous year).
Beer Business in China
The Chinese beer market grew tenfold in the 1990s yet it is still not very profitable. It suffers from overcapacity and low prices and has been described as “a very low margin, fragmented business.” A large bottle of beer can cost as little as 25 cents. Analyst say branding efforts are not very well developed and beer companies often make deals with restaurants and entertainment centers that are favorable to the restaurants but produce minimal profits for the beer companies.
The three largest brewers in China, which control 45 percent of the market, made only $100 million in profits in 2004, a seventh of what Heineken made and 5 percent what Anheuser-Basuch made most Chinese drinkers stick with local brews. China has a clutch of super-brewers such as Beijing Yanjing Brewery and Tsingtao Brewery and western companies are increasingly getting involved with local partners as they look to offset slowing growth in more mature markets.
Beer market share (1999): 1) Tsingtao Beijing (4.5 percent); 2) Yanjing Beijing (4 percent); 3) Imports (3 percent); 4) Guangzhou Zhujang (2.3 percent); 5) Sichian Blue Sword (2.1 percent); Other Chinese beers (84.1 percent).
China’s Snow Lager, the World's Best-Selling Beer
In 2011, a Chinese lager called Snow surpassed Bud Light to become the world's best-selling beer. The ascension of Snow is due to Snow’s popularity in China and to the growing thirst of Chinese drinkers for beer.
In 2010, Bud Light sold 5.18 billion liters or about 9 billion pints - while Snow sold 5.12 billion liters, according to industry statistics provider Plato Logic. In the first nine months of 2008, Snow has sold 5.1 billion liters, according to the third-quarter results of its maker, China Resources Snow Breweries. And while sales of Snow are growing at about 20 percent, sales of Bud Light, according to industry estimates, are down in the first nine months of this year in its biggest market, the US.
It will mark a meteroric rise for Snow's brewer. Since it was founded in 1994, CR Snow, has grown from a regional brewer with a single plant, in Shenyang in the north-eastern Liaoning province, to one of China's biggest drinks companies. CR Snow is a joint venture between China Resources Enterprise and UK-based brewer SABMiller, owner of Grolsch and Pilsner Urquell in the UK. It now has more than 30 brands and more than 60 breweries in China. Snow’s succession to the throne marks a significant success for SABMiller.A 640ml bottle of Snow costs less than 30 US cents. How about the taste? Snow. Reviewers at the monthly beer magazine Beeradvocate gave it a D describing it as ‘unimpressive’ and ‘extremely drinkable, like water’.
Tsingtao (pronounced CHING-dow) is Continue reading
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