Over the last few years, China's ever-expanding middle class has acquired a taste for a wide range of Western products, from Spanish Iberico ham and Maine lobster to M&M's and mozzarella cheese. China has already displaced the US as the world's largest consumer of ice cream, and it appears that America's self-appointed title as the King of Beers may also be under threat—or at the very least, purely symbolic at this point.
Citing Euromonitor research, FOX Business reported that America's paltry 18 billion liters of annual beer consumption last year was easily surpassed by China's 25 billion. Needless to say, this trend has American companies looking eastward for more profits, and the hoppy goodness of craft beers may be the next booze craze in China.
That's the hope for Donnie Everts, VP of International Development for the craft-centric American tavern chain World of Beer. For him, bringing a wider range of beer products to China is a no-brainer.
"Studies show that from 2010 to 2015, craft beer in China has grown in market share by about 23 percent," Everts said. "The numbers by volume are huge, and as the craft beer movement is exploding globally, World of Beer feels like the timing for entry into China could not be better."
Conveniently, World of Beers has launched a Shanghai location, with plans of launching "at least" three more franchises over the next three years. Cong Yin, a franchisee at World of Beer Shanghai, told FOX Business that China's growing thirst for beer has as much to do with demographics as it does with the economy.
"The craft beer movement is already happening in China—and the younger generation is demanding alternative options in beer choices," Yin said. "Also, as a result of rising disposable incomes of the general population, premium brands are becoming much more popular and affordable."
It may be hard for a nation of 320 million to compete with China's 1.3 billion, but for patriotic Americans who want to close the beer gap, there is only one solution: Drink more beer. (Something that World of Beer can also facilitate with their $12,000 beer-drinking internship.)