If 15 January was the worst day of the year ("Blue Monday"), 15 June is surely a contender for the best. It's Friday, the weather is good, the World Cup is finally underway and it's National Beer Day.
Did we mention it was National Beer Day?
We're big fans here of the nectar of the gods - and so are the Chinese, the world's biggest beer producer and consumer. And with beer and football a match made in heaven, Chinese fans of the game have made an impressive point of getting their drinks in this week.
By the end of the night yesterday, the opening day of the World Cup, 280,000 bottles of beer were delivered through the order app Meituan (with crayfish apparently). What type of beer wasn't said, but we know that British beer is very popular indeed. Let's go back three years to a cosy country pub in Buckinghamshire.
In what was a very surreal scene, Chinese premier Xi Jinping was pictured drinking Greene King beer with David Cameron at The Plough at Cadsden. As a result, sales of Greene King IPA rocketed in China, growing by 1,600% ales of Greene King IPA rocketed in China, growing by 1,600%. The landlord of one pub in Xinjiang was reported saying he was selling 300 litres of Greene King IPA in a day, up from 100. A year later, the pub itself was bought by a Chinese firm after becoming famous in China.
Greene King IPA wasn't alone.
In 2016 BrewDog's exports to China grew by 116% and the company is now planning to open a brewery in China. Baijiu Beer Company secured orders in Hong Kong and Shanghai for 12,000 bottles of its beer which is infused with baijiu, the Chinese spirit. Badger Beer has a rising popularity in China.
In fact, the Xi effect triggered huge interest in British beer on the whole: the British Beer & Pub Association reported a mammoth 439% increase in British beer exports to China.
So if you make beer and you're reading this thinking sounds good, I'll have a crack at China, here are a few points that might influence your decision:
- Premium ale will get you further than lager. "There is an opportunity for sweeter beers, mild and dark stouts, and porters" said British Craft Beers in 2013. More hoppy styles of IPA also sell well, according to St Austell Brewery
- Weaker beers do well in China. A third of beers launched in China in 2016 contained little or no alcohol.
- Younger people in China are more likely to buy a British product if there is a Union Jack displayed, according to a Barclays Corporate Banking report on Brand Britain.
- Consider a social strategy that includes WeChat and Sina Weibo, two of the most popular social media platforms in China. Local beer Harbin Beer, for example, has a whopping 4 million fans on Weibo.
- Get your IP registered in China...the last thing you want to see is poor imitations of your brand.
- Social media is huge in China and starting off with a good social media strategy can really fast track results.
Of course, if you're interested in taking your product to China, do speak to us first - we'd be glad to help (and we'd only be too happy to sample your product too).