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Has China lost interest in beer?

For the first time in 24 years, beer production figures have declined as an emerging Chinese middle class revs up its enthusiasm for red wine.

On the wane? Beer may be losing out to wine as production slows

New data supplied by China’s National Bureau of Statistics reports that the volume of beer produced in China decreased by 2.76 percent which translates to roughly 163bn standard-sized beer bottles.

According to the International Business Times, beer remained the most popular alcoholic drink in 2014 but was the only beverage market to register a drop in production and sales are beginning to wane.

It has been suggested that this is because of the emerging middle classes’ love of moderately priced red wine in all its guises – including its own – as well as sluggish beer sales in restaurants and bars since President Xi Jinping’s emphasis on low-key official entertainment activities.

An article in the China Daily reported that public officials are becoming more frugal and there are fewer parties and banquets. An unnamed Chinese brewery manager commented: “Beer sales at restaurants and entertainment venues are gloomy, since a lot of officials haven’t dared to eat out or even go to karaoke parlors. Many companies also suspended gift-giving in the wake of the austerity drive, which led to declines of beer sales at supermarkets.”

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