Budweiser downplays counterfeit beer operation in China

Budweiser has downplayed the scale of a counterfeit beer operation busted in China’s southern Guangdong province, after a video showing an unhygienic beer canning line at an underground factory went viral.

“Throughout the world, Budweiser is brewed and packaged with great care and passion and according to the highest quality standards,” the company says in an statement sent to dbHK.

“The video that has been circulating on some social networks is from a small-scale counterfeit operator in China. We have been working with local authorities to shut it down immediately”.

The illegal operation was churning out 60,000 crates of counterfeit Budweiser canned beer a month, before it was busted by local authorities.

“Budweiser takes great care in every detail of its product and packaging. Cheap counterfeits have telltale signs that they are fakes such as imperfect seals, incorrect date coding, product names and text that contain errors and poor quality packaging and graphics,” the company continues, highlighting how consumers can differentiate between fake cans and those that are authentic.

In addition to Guangdong, in the neighbouring province of Guangxi that borders Vietnam, another illegal underground Budweiser factory was uncovered on 17 May.

Authorities confiscated two bottling machines, 4,600 recycled caps, 9,800 cans and 400 packaging boxes, according to a report by local Chinese news website. Earlier in April in Shenzhen, another 310 crates of counterfeit beer was busted, of which 91 crates were fake Budweiser.

Reports of counterfeit beer are not uncommon in China and it is a problem that extends to both domestic and foreign beer brands. It’s hard to estimate the scale of the illegal operations.

As summer approaches, beer consumption is expected to rise and China is the world’s biggest beer consumer. According to Euromonitor International, the country drank 25 billion litres of beer in 2015, almost twice that of American consumption.

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