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Panda beer anyone? Craft beers flow into China's middle class



SHANGHAI – "Panda Beer", "Little General", "Flying Fist IPA" and "Mandarin Wheat" are among the offerings offered at a craft beer exhibition this week in Shanghai is dedicated to expanding the range of Chinese consumers and promoting the sale of high-end beers.

The 2018 Craft Beer of China Exhibition features breweries such as Rasenburg Beer, Myth Monkey Brewing, Lazy Taps, Goose Island and Boxing Cat Brewery These are tips for the latest technology and sales trends as the Chinese shift from traditional beers to more adventurous, sophisticated and more expensive flavors.

The taps at the Expo featured creative blends of flavors and traditions, a whirling cocktail of Chinese ingredients, barley, hops and spices from around the world.

"After drinking (craft beer) it feels a lot better than the domestic industrial beer, and then you just can not leave it," said Yu Shiqi, a 40-year-old craft beer consumer at the Expo who dreams of brewing his own beer?

In China, money can be made to drink one quarter of the world's total beer, and small beer brewers and huge multinational corporations are intervening. Although Craft Beer is far from drowning out local beer conglomerates, Tsingtao, which dominates the national beer market of $ 28 billion, is enjoying increasing popularity as small breweries open in China's major cities such as Beijing, Shanghai and Shenzhen.

Craft beers are usually more expensive than bulk, low-alcohol content brews like Budweiser and China's Yanjing. But with China's middle class, his taste for finer products is also growing.

A few years ago Craft Beer accounted for only 0.3 percent of total beer consumption. To date, it has risen to around 5 percent, says Darren Guo, one of the organizers of the fair, which expects 30 percent growth in the craft beer market every year until 2020. "The beer culture is at the beginning or the beginning."

Laurel Liu, Sales Director of Beijing Jing A Brewery, says she receives calls from small towns asking how to set up a craft brewery.

"You do not even expect them to have craft beer there now," Liu said. "I'm really surprised and happy to see that craft beer is a thing of the past in China and it's now easier to access those products."

According to beer, more money will be spent on beer in China in 2017 than in the US beverage industry sector research enterprise. Craft breweries "rose rapidly," although foreign imports continue to dominate the high-end beer sector.

The Belgian-Brazilian company Anheuser-Busch InBev, the makers of Budweiser, has invested heavily in China, built breweries and acquired craft breweries such as Shanghai's Boxing Cat. Anheuser Busch also owns Goose Island, based in Chicago.

Michael Jordan, brewing master at Boxing Cat, and his associates experiment with flavors such as pancakes, green tea, pepper, chai, kiwi, hibiscus and sweet potato.

Jordan reports some of the successes China brewed in China when President Xi Jinping in the UK shared a pint IPA (Indian Pale Ale) with then-Prime Minister David Cameron.

"The 'Xi Phenomenon' opened people's eyes to IPA," he said.

Copyright 2018 The Associated Press, All Rights Reserved, This material may not be published, transmitted, rewritten or redistributed


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