Global beer-making hits new highs, China shines

Global beer-making hits new highs, China shines

TOKYO - The Associated Press
Global beer-making hits new highs, China shines

A young woman drinks beer at the annual beer festival ‘Oktoberfest’ in Munich. The axis of beer consuming is moving from West to the East as China leads the way. EPA photo

A new report says the world’s appetite for beer hit a new high last year, with China leading the way.
The report released yesterday by the research arm of a major Japanese brewery said it was the 27th consecutive year that beer production marked an increase. It attributed the rise to robust demand in Asia and developing countries.

The report commissioned by Kirin Holdings said 192.71 million kiloliters of beer were produced last year, up 3.7 percent from 2010. China was the world’s largest beer producer - accounting for about 25 percent - for the 10th straight year, The Associated Press said yesterday.

The United States saw a slight decrease in production from the year before but still ranked second at 11.7 percent, followed by Brazil and Russia.

Dutch-Thai rivalry

Meanwhile, a nascent bidding war for a Singapore brewer between Dutch giant Heineken and Thai rivals underscores the growing importance of Southeast Asia’s consumer market to global firms, analysts said yesterday.

In a surprise move, a Thai company linked to beverages tycoon Charoen Sirivadhanabhakd on Aug. 7 offered $44.34 for an additional 7.3 percent stake in Asia Pacific Breweries (APB), the makers of Tiger Beer, Afence France-Presse reported.

This was higher than the Sg$50 per share offered by Heineken, which already owns 42 percent of APB, for the 40 percent stake held directly and indirectly by its longtime partner Fraser and Neave (F&N).
“The new Thai bid for the Fraser and Neave stake in Asia Pacific Breweries reflects a broader trend of the ascendancy of Asian multinationals,” said Rajiv Biswas, Asia-Pacific chief economist at research group IHS Global Insight.

“This is evident in the global brewing industry, with companies from Japan, China, Thailand and the Philippines building their global footprint and competing fiercely with North American and European firms.”