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Why not make your own beer!

Reporter: Chen Tong 丨 CCTV.com

08-07-2016 10:40 BJT

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With the 2016 Olympic Games underway in Rio, sports bars around the world will be among the greatest beneficiaries of the event. But a new trend in China may be starting to take some business away from traditional alcohol retailers. Growing numbers of Chinese are making their own craft beers at home, and more and more businessmen are making money teaching them how to do it.

Everybody likes a cool beer in the hot days of summer, but strangely enough China's beer industry is not doing so well. Famous Tsingtao Beer is seeing profits dry up -- Guosen Securities said today it's lowered the company's sales and profit forecasts for the next few years. But none of this bothers Lu Jun, a white-collar worker at an internet company in Shanghai. He makes his own beer. It's good, and it's cheap.

"I was surprised when I found that a beer could have this kind of taste. It's different from anything you can get in China. It's like a mixture of fruits and flowers and a lot different from the faint taste you get from mass-produced beers. A bottle of imported beer is around 30 yuan, but one bottle of home-made beer only costs one or two," said Lu.

An entry-level set of brewing equipment like Mr Lu's costs between 500 and 1,000 yuan. That includes a cask or two, as well as wheat and hops. He says so many Chinese have started brewing their own beer in the last two years that they're now even competing among themselves to see whose is the best. All this, of course, benefits the people who sell the equipment -- Mike Sheretz is one of them. Sheretz came to China 20 years ago to work as a chemical engineer, and decided to start teaching his favorite hobby to others when he retired in 2008. In addition to providing recipes, Sheretz now also imports and sells brewing equipment, as well as teching novice beer brewers the tricks of the trade. He says Chinese people's improved living conditions in recent years have made them want to try something new.

"People learn that there is a lot more to beer than just the light beer we produce in China, so they get introduced to the beer from around the world, just like the wine business growing, so is the beer business. People are wanting some of the better things in life now," he said.

Sheretz says he has sold equipment to 300 potential brewmeisters in the past six years and sees a growing market. The market is private, however. Both Lu and Sheretz can only make beer for themselves, their families and friends. Chinese law stipulates that only properly licensed establishments can sell beer to the public.

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