This article says that, once again, China is the world’s top consumer of alcoholic beverages.
That’s not entirely surprising, since China is the world’s most-populous country with none of the religious or cultural barriers to drinking alcohol one finds, say, in India. Consumption was up 5% in the face of a slowing economy, with volume set to hit 5bn liters, while growth will be a robust 16% through 2016.* By comparison, India is third with 4.4bn liters, a full 55MM liters behind.
But does that mean bright prospects for Western booze companies?
Nearly 85% of the market is for beer, with a hefty amount going to home-grown breweries. And several spirits makers have found sales lagging in the Middle Kingdom. Cognac appears to be one of the few success stories, with Chinese consumers favoring it at banquets (often mixed with sugary soft drinks) and for gifts. Volumes were up 20% in 2011 with over 160MM bottles sold (up 6%). Both the North America (50.8MM bottles) and Europe (46.9MM) were far behind China for sales of this aromatic beverage.
(Our thanks to Liesbeth Buffels at Dirafrost for the heads-up on the lead article).