Budweiser sees strong demand for premium beer in China

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BEIJING, February 24 (Reuters)Budweiser Brewing Co APAC 1876.HKAsia’s biggest brewing company by sales said on Thursday it plans to promote more premium beer in China after seeing strong demand, especially for limited editions. beer gift box prices more than 1,500 yuan ($237).

The Asian subsidiary of Anheuser-Busch InBev ABI.BRwhich has a portfolio of more than 50 beer brands, including Hoegaarden, Stella Artois, Corona and Harbin, said it currently holds more than 45% of China’s premium and super premium beer market.

According to industry analysts, Chinese consumers are drinking less beer, but of higher quality. Beer usually costs between 5 and 10 yuan a bottle in China. Premium beer is priced at 10-12 yuan and super premium is nothing more.

“Today, we estimate that only 16% of total beer consumption in China is premium or super premium,” while in South Korea it’s 25% and in the West 40. to 45%, said Jan Craps, co-chairman and managing director of Budweiser APAC, in an interview with Reuters after its fourth quarter results.

“If you look at middle-income households and GDP growth (in China), the market will be very attractive.”

Reflecting the strength of demand for such products, a super high-end limited-edition gift box priced at 1,588 yuan containing a beer bottle designed for the Year of the Tiger and two Italian crystal glasses, “sold out immediately” after its launch in January, he says.

“We only sold 2,400 bottles. From the start, we didn’t try to sell more, we want it to be very limited.”

Major beer brands in China such as Tsingtao Brewery 0168.HK and China Resources Beer 0291.HK also launched super high-end products costing around or more than 1,000 yuan.

AAnalysts from China’s investment bank CICC said in a report in July that the high-end market was the beer industry’s main growth driver.

Budweiser on Thursday reported an 84.8% increase in net profit for 2021 on revenue up 14.9%, helped by premium sales.

($1 = 6.3168 Chinese yuan renminbi)

(Reporting by Sophie Yu and Brenda Goh; editing by Jason Neely)

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