No small beer

No small beer

In the US, Stella Artois markets itself as “a thing of beauty” with a campaign shot by fashion photographer Bert Stern. A glamorous woman downs her Stella while an admiring male looks on, earning approving comments from AdWeek about the beer’s association with a “sense of luxury”.

AB InBev, owner of Stella Artois, now wants to send a similar message to Chinese drinkers. It has just announced it will launch the brand – a Belgian beer – at the super premium price of Rmb40 per bottle. As the China Daily reports that’s a lot more expensive than most beers, which typically retail at Rmb10 or less a bottle.

China consumes 450 million hectolitres of beer annually (see WiC65) and AB InBev has about 12% of the market. But the Stella launch signals an attack on a more neglected, higher-end of the market. Perhaps AB InBev has been inspired by Pabst Blue Ribbon’s launch of a pricey ale (see WiC78). Doug Young says on his China Business Blog that introducing Stella is a “brilliant move” timed to tap into “image conscious” young urban consumers ready to spend more on luxury items.

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