Multi-national craft brewery Brewdog has announced it will start brewing in China through a joint venture with Budweiser.
The deal with Budweiser China will see Brewdog’s core range – Punk IPA, Hazy Jane and Elvis Juice – brewed domestically.
Brewdog first entered China through imports in 2015 and opened a taproom in Shanghai in 2020.
In a statement to the media, the Scottish brewer explained their agreement with Budweiser – presumably to inoculate against criticism of working with a much larger commercial brewery given their independent ‘punk’ brand persona – as being driven by the need for “an established partner who has a sales and distribution infrastructure in place and local market knowledge”.
Media reports that beer production will kick off at Budweiser’s China’s Putian craft brewery by the end of March.
In tandem with domestic brewing operations, Brewdog is also planning to launch up to ten venues around China over the next five years.
“This is a genuinely transformational partnership which is going to bring BrewDog to every corner of the world’s biggest beer market,” BrewDog founder James Watt said in a statement.
“Over the past few years we’ve established local production in the US, Germany and Australia. In Budweiser China, we have found a partner that shares our growth vision for BrewDog.”
The expansion of activities in the Chinese market comes after Brewdog entered the Japanese market via a similar joint venture with Asahi and aggressive expansion plans in India.
Brewdog has faced controversy in recent years, including accusations of senior management bullying staff, and a contradictory approach that saw the brewery simultaneously criticising Qatar’s human rights record while selling beer in the country.