China’s President’s taste for British beer sends sales soaring

Sales of a beer made by a small British brewer are soaring in China after President Xi Jinping was pictured drinking a pint of Green King’s IPA beer with Prime Minister David Cameron at his local country pub.

LONDON, ENGLAND, UK (DECEMBER 10, 2015) (REUTERS_ – When a small British pub served beer to Prime Minister David Cameron and Chinese President Xi Jinping on Thursday (October, 22) sales soared in China, much to the delight of IPA’s Greene King.

“We saw both the Prime Minister and President drinking our beer and as a result of that within about a couple of hours we had almost a thousand enquires from various businesses to buy our beer so we’re absolutely delighted,” said Chris Houlton, Managing Director of Greene King.

Cameron took a break from the formalities of hosting the state visit to take Communist Party General Secretary Xi to The Plough at Cadsden, near his official country residence at Chequers, for a fish and chip supper washed down with a pint of Green King IPA ale.

IPA, or India Pale Ale, was created in the days of the British Empire to bring a taste of home to troops stationed in India.

It is now sold in over 30 countries worldwide including China where sales have increased 16 fold since the two world leaders were photographed drinking the light ale.

“We’re sending at the moment about 50,000 cases which is just under 600,000 bottles to China. That’s about a 16 fold increase in our sales. We’ve been selling Green King IPA to China for about 10 years but actually the sales have really kicked up and we’re hoping on the back of this we’ll carry on selling at that sort of multiple of 16 times with a bit of luck,” said Houlton.

Greene King recently acquired Spirit Pub in a deal worth 774 million pounds, the biggest deal in its 216-year history.

The acquisition helped the brewer post better-than-expected half-year profit as more Britons dined out and drank the cask ales sold at its 3,000-plus pubs, restaurants and hotels. And Houlton hopes the recent publicity surrounding China’s President Xi Jinping will help maintain strong sales to China.

“We’ve been approached by one of the biggest distributors in China to distribute our beer so we think it will last and there will be a lot of interest,” said Houlton.

Cameron has hailed a “golden era” in relations with China as he pitches Britain as the pre-eminent Western gateway for investment from China, though the warmth of the reception for Xi has raised some eyebrows with allies and drawn criticism that London is ignoring China’s human rights record.