China drinks more beer than any other country, but Nikkei Asian Review reports that the beer market “has shrunk for four straight years since its peak in 2013.” However, official stats say production rose 1.2 percent in the first half of this year, and the country’s top two brewers did well from January to June:
- China Resources (or CR Beer) — the country’s No. 1 brewer — saw sales jump “11 percent on the year to 17.5 billion yuan” ($2.57 billion). The volume of beer actually fell, but profitable premium brands made up the shortfall.
- Tsingtao Brewery, China’s second-largest beer maker, had sales for the January-June period that were 15.1 billion yuan ($2.21 billion), 1 percent up compared with the same period last year.
- Dutch brewer Heineken is merging its Chinese operations with CR Beer: “The Chinese company will fully cultivate the domestic market through premium beers like Heineken and low-priced brands like Snow.”