Carlsberg is one of the first international brewers to export beer to China, starting more than 150 years ago. In the mid-19th century, the first batch of Carlsberg beer traveled halfway around the world to China. Like other commodities representing the western lifestyle, Carlsberg began to accumulate fame in this ancient empire. At that time, Carlsberg was seen as a kind of special “wine” and was served in Chinese bars.
Carlsberg officially began its business in Greater China in 1978. The company inaugurated the Carlsberg Brewery in Hong Kong in 1981, which became the base for Carlsberg’s expansion into mainland China. In 1995, Carlsberg acquired a major shareholding in a brewery in Huizhou, Guangdong. From that time on, Carlsberg’s presence in the mainland was assured. In 1999, all production was moved from Hong Kong to Huizhou. The Carlsberg Brewery Guangdong in Huizhou now supplies products to mainland China, Hong Kong, and the Macau markets. After 2000, Carlsberg expanded its footprint to the western territories of China. It accelerated the acquisition of shareholdings in breweries in West China.
Carlsberg not only concentrated on manufacturing high-quality beer but also focused on developing products that better fulfilled consumers’ demands, as well as nurturing consumers’ tastes and demands. In order to better cater to this new approach, Carlsberg implemented a brand extension strategy and West China strategy in the Chinese market. Today, Carlsberg has full ownership or joint ventures in seven provinces.
For Carlsberg, the West China Strategy is not about taking over the market or brand replacement. Rather, through the acquisitions, Carlsberg is trying to raise Chinese beer brewing standards in order to provide better beer for more people, and carry out its commitment of growing together with local community, partners, suppliers, and employees. While keeping the local brands in the West, Carlsberg is assisting the acquired breweries to reconstruct and upgrade their facilities, as well as introducing advanced technology, brewing methods, and management approaches. As a result of these efforts, Carlsberg has become the leading brewery group in West China.
Today, Carlsberg markets 20 different brews in China, namely, Carlsberg Smooth Beer, Carlsberg Light, Kronenbourg 1664, Brooklyn, Tuborg, Tuburg Ye, Grimbergen, Wind Flower Snow & Moon, Xixia, Wusu, Xinjiang, Lhasa, Dali, Huanghe, Shancheng and Chongqing, as well as 2 non-beer brands, Booster and Jolly Shandy. In light of the brand portfolio, Carlsberg caters to consumers on different drinking occasions, and meanwhile changes their drinking habits and nurtures their desire for drinking.