Budweiser more popular in China than the US

American beer brand Budweiser is more popular in China than in its homeland, with sales in China surpassing those in the US for the first time this year.

As reported by Beverage Daily, sales of Bud in China overtook those in America in the first half of 2018 and the gap is expected to widen as China’s thirst for the beer, which was first developed in Missouri in 1876, grows.

The news comes as home-brewed beer consumption continues to decline in the US, while China’s interest in American beers is on the rise.

According to Rabobank, domestic beer used to make up 87.7% of total consumption in the US, but fell to 67.6% in 2017 as once loyal Americans become increasingly drawn to foreign brews like Corona and Dos Equis.

On the flipside, Bud is seen as a desirable foreign beer in China. The thirst for foreign beers is being played out all over the world, from Brazil and Germany.

“Whether it is nostalgia for a beer drank back home or on holiday, or a longing for a product with authenticity, consumers see foreign beer as a premium product,” Francois Sonneville, senior beverages analyst at Rabobank told Beverage Daily.

Keen to make a big splash in China, beer giants AB InBev, which owns Budweiser, and Heineken, are investing heavily in the Chinese market.

AB InBev reported an 18.6% share in the Chinese beer market in 2016. Budweiser was the fifth top-selling beer in China last year with a 3.6% share of the market.

Snow, the lager brewed by state-backed China Resources Beer Holdings, is the top-selling beer in China at the moment with a 24% share of the market.

Heineken recently signed a strategic partnership with domestic beer manufacturer China Resource Beer (CR Beer) to boost its presence in China.

The growing thirst for foreign beers in China is being driven by young professionals in tier one cities like Beijing, Shanghai with ample disposable income who are upgrading from locally-brewed beers to foreign imports.

According to Euromonitor, China is the world’s largest beer market – a whopping 45 billion litres of beer were consumed in China last year compared to 24 billion litres in the second-place US.

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