A spe­cial drink for the stay-at-homes

China Daily (Canada) - - ANALYSIS -

As craft beers were be­gin­ning to take off in China about five years ago, another phe­nom­e­non, home brew­ing, was be­gin­ning to be felt in the coun­try, said Li Wei, pres­i­dent of the Bei­jing Home Brew­ing So­ci­ety.

“In fact, most craft beer brew­ers in China started out do­ing home brew­ing as a hobby,” Li said.

The so­ci­ety, launched in 2012, had 10 found­ing mem­bers and now has more than 500 pay­ing mem­bers who are home brew­ers, beer lovers and craft beer prac­ti­tion­ers, said Li, him­self a beer afi­cionado who joined the so­ci­ety soon af­ter it was set up.

In Bei­jing, home brew­ing first be­came pop­u­lar among ex­pa­tri­ates, and grad­u­ally ex­panded to lo­cals, he said. Of the so­ci­ety’s 10 found­ing mem­bers, nine are ex­pats, but most of the 500 mem­bers are Chi­nese, he said.

The so­ci­ety puts on events such as home brew­ing fes­ti­vals, work­shops and sem­i­nars.

More than 20 Chi­nese prov­inces now have their own so­ci­eties for home­r­brew lovers.

About 10,000 peo­ple in China brew their own beers, and there is a lot of room for growth as craft beers be­come more pop­u­lar, Li said. In the US there are 600,000 home brew­ers, he said.

In China prices of home brew­ing equip­ment range from just 1,000 yuan ($150) to 50,000 yuan, and it costs about 30 yuan to 200 yuan to buy the in­gre­di­ents to brew one bar­rel of about 90 liters. Most of the equip­ment and in­gre­di­ents can be bought on­line.

Li, who is a pre­sen­ter with China Cen­tral Tele­vi­sion, said he be­came ac­quainted with craft beer on his over­seas trav­els.

“Some hob­bies are some­how in­ter­linked,” he said. “For ex­am­ple, quite a few craft beer lovers among home brew­ers are also fans of pour-over cof­fee, bak­eries, sin­gle malt whisky and outdoor sports.”

As young Chi­nese have be­come more af­flu­ent, they have be­gun to be in­ter­ested in niche prod­ucts, he said.

From left: Beer made by Jing-A Brew­ing Co in Bei­jing, Master Gao Brew­ing Co in Nan­jing and Great Leap Brew­ing Co in Bei­jing.

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