In October 2009, the Brewers Association and its Export Development Program conducted a trade mission to Shanghai, Beijing and Shenzhen to conduct craft beer educational seminars in these cities. The seminars are conducted in an effort to support the brands currently in the market and to raise awareness about American Craft Beer with the Chinese media and beer industry.
The seminars were coordinated with significant local assistance from Dxcel Distribution, Four Points by Sheraton and the USDA’s Agricultural Trade Office staff. Dxcel is the Shanghai based specialty beer importer and distributor currently bringing American Craft Beer into China.
Guests attended the seminars which covered craft beer history, styles, color, ingredients, serving, storage and handling tips and food and beer pairings. Seminar content was graciously provided by the Siebel Institute and sourced from among the BA’s own resources. Four different beers were sampled as part of the seminar. A reception following the seminars allowed for the display and sampling of additional products. The post seminar reception focused on pairing American Craft Beer and food by style.
The initial seminar on this trade mission was conducted at the Shanghai Gourmet Food Show and was produced in conjunction with the Shanghai Restaurant Association. 70 people were in attendance and they were all Asian. Those in attendance were owners or beverage managers from small, independent Shanghai restaurants. This was a first for the Brewers Association in terms on getting in front of 100% Chinese F&B decision makers. The long term viability of American Craft Beer in China depends on the Chinese consumer embracing American Craft Beer.
The seminars featured four different American Craft Beers to sample-Saranac Pale Ale, North Coast Red Seal Ale, Brooklyn East India Pale Ale and Rogue Dead Guy Ale. These beers were chosen as they are all currently being exported to China.
These seminars helped further relationships with the local trade and again demonstrated the BA’s commitment to support market development efforts in China. The seminars also generated significant media coverage. Beer tastings, and the concept of craft beer, are new to China and the press took an interest in covering the BA’s message. The BA and these seminars were featured in English and Chinese language publications. Notable, there were four separate interviews including ones with a Dr. David Maguire of the Shanghai Daily, Dolores Chen editor of Food and Life Monthly and finally a TV interview for the International Channel Shanghai. The Four Points locations were wonderful hosts and a valued partner in the Brewers Association’s efforts.