By Andy Young and Tam Allenby
Three Australian craft brewers will be targeting key Asian markets as they showcase and tour China next month.
The Australian Brewery from Sydney, KAIJU! from Melbourne and Nail Brewing from Perth will be travelling with Austrade representatives from 1-12 March, taking in four major Chinese cities and business hubs: Guangzhou, Kunming and Shanghai, culminating at the Beijing Invitational Craft Beer Festival.
In each city the brewers will be holding masterclasses with prospective importers, distributors and major retailers, as well as attending tastings and networking events organised by Austrade in each province.
The Australian Brewery is experienced in export to Asia, with their beers already available in Japan, Singapore, India and Hong Kong.
In November 2016, they sent their first container of beer to mainland China, and are hoping to expand distribution and further capitalise on this opportunity to enter the potentially lucrative Chinese market.
The move comes as the premium and craft beer markets start to take off in China, as the country’s overall beer market continues to contract. China’s beer market is valued at over $90bn per year, but total volumes have fallen at around five per cent a year, for the past three years. The market is largely dominated by three domestic brewers in Snow, Tsingtao and Yanjing, but imported beers are becoming increasingly popular as younger and more affluent beer drinkers trade up to craft and premium brews.
A large component of the trip will also involve market research – experiencing what other international brewers are doing in the space – especially at the Beijing International Craft Beer Festival, where the group will meet the local brewers and sample some Chinese craft beers.
“Sharing our beer with people and talking about it is my favourite part of this business and I’m looking forward to doing it with some other great Australian Brewers,” said Marcello Colosimo, the General Manager and Founder of the Australian Brewery.
“I’m sure we will get plenty of opportunity to enjoy some beers together as well.”
While large brewers such as AB InBev, Heineken and Carlsberg are still popular in China, the growing consumer search for premium beers has seen one of the UK’s leading craft brewers, BrewDog, expand into the country and show signs of success.
With the huge China beer market opening up more, this delegation of Australian craft brewers will be hoping that they blaze a trial for Australian beer in the country.