Drinking culture in China is omnipresent in the daily life, during the dinners at home with friends or family, celebrations, holidays, casual get together, nights out on the town, business meeting and that, for a long time. Drinking culture in China is quite different from the drinking culture in the western countries. When you come to China, for business, pleasure or whatever it is important to know the rules of Chinese drinking etiquette.
At this time, in China, Chinese millennials, called “post-80s” (八零后) for those born after the 80s and “post-90s” (九零后) for those born after the 90s, account for around 30% of the Chinese population and are becoming the most important consumer group for the global economy. Among young consumers aged between 20 and 29 years old, 33% said they would increase their alcohol consumption in the future. Chinese millennials are shaking up drinking culture in China and are interested by trying new things and changing alcohol habits.
This analysis will show tips about the drinking culture in China, and exhibits the great opportunity for international spirits in China.
Tips about Chinese drinking culture
Drinking culture is omnipresent in China. Drinking in China is an pervasive social ritual. Toasting is a very important on-going ritual in China and it happens very regularly especially at a formal banquet; the honoured guest returns the toast to the host, the host or the eldest person is expected to make the first toast.
When Chinese people toast together, the person of a lower status should have the glass slightly lower than the other person.
In China, drinking Baijiu is usually done when toasting with another person and nether alone.
During business lunches, most of the time Chinese people toast with a glass of Baijiu that is said to bring luck. Baijiu is one of the most popular drinks in China, and it is the drink of choice for business dinners.
When Chinese people are drinking together, they said “cheers”. Cheers in Chinese is Ganbei (干杯) which literally means “dry the glass”. With each toast carried you must empty your glass.
In China home and restaurant represent together 80% of the consumption of alcohol in China. In term of drinking occasion, it seems there is a shift when we jump generation. For the Chinese consumers between 35 and 44 years old, 53.2% of them would consume alcohol in restaurants, which has a strong connection with their affordability as well as the purpose of consumption (for business occasions). Still, clubs and bars are becoming a good leverage to reach younger consumer as about ¼ of 18-24 years old consumers and nearly 1/5 of 25-34 years old consumers enjoy these venues for consuming especially new and appealing kind of alcohol beverages.
While still a significant part of the drinking occasion are following traditional context and rules, in recent years, drinking in China has shifting to more purpose of experiencing culture, cultivating friendship, relaxing, and having fun. It is especially true in Chinese tier-1 and -2 cities.