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UK brewer says three cheers to China

Friday, December 11, 2015 - 01:41

Sales of a beer made by a small British brewer have rocketed in China. As Hayley Platt reports, it's become popular because President Xi Jinping was pictured drinking a pint of Green King's IPA with the UK Prime Minister David Cameron.

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It's not everyday a President and a Prime Minister drop in for a pint. And David Cameron and Xi Jinping's visit to an English country pub in October has had unexpected consequences. Sales of Greene King's IPA - the drink they both enjoyed - have soared. Chris Houlton is the brewer's MD. (SOUNDBITE) (English) GREEN KING, MANAGING DIRECTOR CHRIS HOULTON, SAYING: "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." India Pale Ale was created in the days of the British Raj. It was shipped to troops in India to give them a taste of home. It's now sold in 30 countries and new orders are coming in thick and fast. (SOUNDBITE) (English) GREEN KING, MANAGING DIRECTOR CHRIS HOULTON, SAYING: "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." Greene King is a relatively small brewer, with the vast majority of its business in Britain. It recently branched out, acquiring Spirit Pub in a deal worth almost 780 million pounds, the biggest in its 216-year history. Houlton hopes the recent publicity will help it maintain strong sales to China. While Cameron is no doubt looking for more big trade deals with Beijing. Not everyone is happy though. Some feel Britain is ignoring China's human rights record - by putting business first.

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UK brewer says three cheers to China

Friday, December 11, 2015 - 01:41