Mon, Sep 12, 2005 - Page 11 News List

Chen toasts Taiwan Beer's dominance in domestic market

BREWERS' WARS Taiwan Beer said that it had beaten off growing competition from rival Tsingtao brewery and the President drove home the point with a pint

AP , TAIPEI

President Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁) returned to his hometown of Tainan yesterday where he joined officials in celebrating the domination of Taiwanese beer in the domestic market.

Chen was shown on national TV, clinking mugs and gulping down pints of the local ale at Saturday's beer festival held in southern Tainan City.

President Chen was promoting the region's fruit and supporting party candidates ahead of December's mayoral elections.

The festival comes as Taiwan Beer said that it had beaten off competition from rival China's Tsingtao brewery.

Taiwan Beer grabbed 80 percent of the local beer market, after sliding to 74 percent last year.

Beer revenues of the Taiwan Tobacco and Liquor Corp, which manufactures and sells Taiwan Beer, had dropped 8 percent to NT$19.6 billion (US$612 million) last year, after Tsingtao launched an aggressive promotional campaign.

Taiwan Beer originated at the Chienkuo brewery in Taipei in 1919, a site that was designated as a historical landmark in 2000.

Taiwan, which had barred Chinese alcohol for decades, was eventually forced to open its market after it became a member of the World Trade Organization in 2001.

Tsingtao, which started brewing beer in Taiwan's southern Pingtung County in May, said that it expects to capture at least 25 percent of the Taiwan market.

Tsingtao brewery was founded in 1903 by German settlers in Qingtao, China. To appeal to local tastes, Tsingtao has advertised itself as "made in Taiwan."

Taiwan Beer countered with a promotional campaign featuring local pop singers, basketball and taekwondo stars.

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