China: China's consumers looking for better brews (E-malt.com)
In a country that loves its hot beverages, beer is one thing most Chinese enjoy cold. But as of late, beer has been on a hot streak, as evidenced by national sales figures. And the target market in China has gradually shifted to middle and high-end drinkers, with more quality brewed into every sip, CGTN reported on May 6.
Whether it tastes great or is less filling, China's beer drinkers now want a better brew. In the past, the buzz was all about cheaper domestic brands. But now, consumers have more options in buying, Bi Chaojiao, the general manager of sales & marketing center at China Resources Snow Breweries said.
"Our previous strategy was to earn the highest sales in the Chinese market, so we would produce a beer that was suitable for most drinkers in China. But now, because young people have new likes, we develop products according to their taste," said Bi.
v, one of the nation's biggest beer companies, now has beers specifically for the middle and high-end market. Brave the World Super X, Craftsmanship, and Marrs Green are some of their newest brands. At eight to 15 yuan per bottle, many people wonder, has the quality gone up with the price?
"We have further designed wheat consistency, alcohol, flavor, taste, and color, so that these products will standout, personalized and different from the previous ones," said Bi.
Bi revealed that CRSB's total income in 2018 increased by almost eight percent over the year. Total sales of middle and high-end beers have increased by nearly five percent, while total sales of traditional cheaper ones decreased three to four percent.
"It's a trend that every beer company in China should grasp. If they fail to do so, they will lose out in the competition down the road," said Bi.
While many Chinese enjoy middle and high-end beers at home, at most bars, the cheaper ones remain the life of the party.
"Our cheaper beers sell more. The expensive ones can be more expensive in the bars and most people cannot accept the prices," said Yang Zi, the barkeeper of Yi Pinchang Bar.
Yang adds that price is still an essential factor for young people when it comes to buying beer.
"The cheaper ones I usually go for. I'm a student. Tsingtao is usually cheap. I can get a Tsingtao for up to five kuai (yuan)," said Sam Tufft, a student from Suzhou.
But no matter how China's beer economy plays out, experts agree that more options are always better for consumers.