BrewDog to go big in China after sealing venture with global beer giant

BrewDog, the Scottish craft brewer, is to ramp up its presence in the world’s biggest beer market after sealing a joint venture with Budweiser China.

The Asian powerhouse economy currently accounts for less than 1 per cent of BrewDog’s overall sales but the tie-up will allow the Ellon-based firm to tap into Budweiser China’s vast sales and distribution network. It will take BrewDog’s biggest-selling brands such as Punk IPA, Hazy Jane and Elvis Juice across the country from next month.

The long-term agreement will focus on expanding the BrewDog brand across Greater China and allows the maverick Scots brewer to capitalise on rapid market growth in the country, which is now the world’s biggest producer and consumer of beer. Additionally, an affiliate of Budweiser China and BrewDog have partnered to expand BrewDog in South Korea, with options to collaborate in other Asian markets at a later date.

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The two parties anticipate that the joint venture will be fully operational by the end of the first quarter, with further details on the “strategic” partnership and commercial plan revealed prior to launch. The deal marks BrewDog’s second joint venture in Asia following the announcement of its partnership in Japan with another brewer in September 2021. Sales in Japan are said to have doubled since the deal was announced. Additionally, BrewDog China also plans to open several new hospitality venues in China by 2026, building on the firm’s sole Chinese bar, in Shanghai, and adding to its existing international network of more than 110 bars.

Co-founder James Watt said: “We are very excited about further expansion into China. This is a genuinely transformational partnership which is going to bring BrewDog to every corner of the world’s biggest beer market, from a truly bespoke craft brewery which will help ensure the quality of our beers. By making beer closer to our customers, we’ll be giving them even fresher beer and doing it in a way which is better for the planet. Over the past few years we’ve established local production in the US, Germany and Australia.

“Chinese drinkers love craft beer, but the sector is still very new. In Budweiser China, we have found a partner that shares our growth vision for BrewDog in China and is perfectly placed to support our rapid growth in the region.”

BrewDog’s beers will be locally produced by “expert brewers” in China in collaboration with BrewDog’s global brew master and the head of quality at Budweiser China’s Putian Craft Brewery in Fujian province. Local production also allows BrewDog to significantly reduce the CO2 output and logistics costs associated with importing beer from Europe.

Nicolas Morelli, craft and specialty beer vice-president of Budweiser China, said: “Bud China is leading in craft beer across China and we continue to focus on premium and super premium beer offerings in the country. We are excited to add BrewDog to our craft beer portfolio to enrich Chinese beer lovers’ experience with more craft beer choices.”

Last year, BrewDog set out a “blueprint” for its growth over the next 15 years.

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