Exploring the Development Path of Chinese Craft Brewing

Release time:

27 Sep,2018

The production and consumption of China's beer industry have been declining for four years, and the development direction of beer is shifting from "quantity" to "quality". In the era of consumption upgrading, low-priced products may be abandoned by consumers, moving from a single style to a diversified category. "Craft brewing" will be a good export.


The term 'craft beer' has repeatedly appeared in people's vision. Although few people can still provide a clear definition of 'craft beer', it seems that we no longer need to explain what craft beer is to consumers, because in the minds of consumers, 'craft beer' is a 'better' beer, and the label 'craft beer' reflects excellence and quality. Craft brewing "is more like a spirit floating above all words - not satisfied with any existing labels, constantly innovating, breaking through oneself, there is no best, only better.

Craft brewing can bring new scenarios for beer consumption

In the past beer consumption scene, in addition to the daily table consumption, the large amount of beer is barbecue plus beer, crayfish plus beer. In the cognition of Chinese consumers, eating and drinking are carried out at the same time. Different from the status of Baijiu and red wine, people will prepare good food for good wine. Beer is always just a secondary position. It seems that most of the time, people drink beer more like a choice, Most people don't care whether they drink Harbin or snowflakes, and even in the scorching summer, they are more concerned about the temperature of beer than about the brand or category of beer.

The development of craft beer is enriching beer consumption scenarios, and new consumption scenarios are being established, almost overnight. Many beer bars mainly engaged in beer business have emerged across the country, and many consumers have resorted to "drinking beer on weekend evenings" as a way of entertainment. This is a good sign. Compared to supermarket shelves, which are the main distribution centers for standard beer, these small beer bars are the main distribution centers for small and medium-sized craft beer. These beer bars have an irreplaceable role in promoting beer categories and beer consumption scenarios.

Why can craft beer provide new consumption scenarios? In the context of consumption upgrading, social sharing consumption (Ganbei culture) will gradually shift towards personal enjoyment consumption. In this process, the scene is very important. The emergence of the beer attributes of craft beer can not only meet the needs of social sharing, but also the rich taste of craft beer can meet the needs of personal enjoyment. Some craft small pubs can balance the relationship between social and personal enjoyment.

In addition to establishing new beer consumption scenarios, craft beer is also an opportunity to promote beer culture and upgrade beer categories. In the current era of consumers pursuing "craftsmanship" and "quality", craft beer relies on its own advantages to generate higher value recognition for beer production in the market and consumers. Of course, this is not only what craft beer needs to do, but also the direction that the entire beer industry needs to work together.


The dilemma of categories and brands

Small and medium-sized breweries are focusing on craft beer, and beer giants are also turning their attention to craft beer. Although we don't need to dwell on the term 'craft beer', we just need to know that craft beer is a better beer. But the vague and unclear definition of craft beer makes it a mixed bag, ranging from the tens of thousands of tons of IPA in Qingdao to Pearson in plastic bottles at unknown shops on the street, perhaps all of which can be called craft beer. The relationship between the two is very ambiguous. On the one hand, beer giants are turning their attention to craft beer, relying on their own brand and channel advantages to quickly let consumers know about "craft beer", sparking a category fever. Small and medium-sized craft beer production enterprises can take advantage of the category fever caused by the giants, saving a lot of category promotion costs; On the other hand, when the category is established, small and medium-sized beer companies will have to stand on the same track as beer giants in the brand competition. It should be noted that small and medium-sized craft beer companies have no competitive edge in the face of capital. A few years ago, the situation of the five giants running horses and dividing the market may reappear. When will the critical point of the relationship between the two reach? This is a question that many people are concerned about. At present, Budweiser has learned from its experience in the US craft beer market and started to acquire local craft beer brands in China for cultivation.

Exploring the Development Path of Chinese Craft Brewing

In addition to feelings and other factors, craft beer itself is a product of personalization, with strong cultural and regional attributes. In most cases, if the product cost performance ratio is not too different, beer is different from Baijiu, the fresher the better. In the United States, the consumption community of craft beer may be more willing to support local enterprises, which is one of the reasons for the current pattern of craft beer market in the United States. However, in China, consumers are often more willing to believe in brands and have a certain admiration for large enterprises. This can be reflected in the cognitive status of Chinese consumers towards Maowulu and regional liquor companies, as well as the national sales of Qingdao Beer. It is worth noting that China has already produced some mature brands in the field of craft beer. Although the development of craft beer in the United States is relatively complete, it is still in the development stage. Although it has reference significance for the development of craft beer in China, it is also limited. China's craft beer industry should explore its own development path, similar to China's national conditions.