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China's extravagant drinking habit: By the numbers
Well-heeled Chinese consumers are acquiring a taste for pricey whiskies and wines. And in a country where a PBR costs $44, the numbers quickly add up...
 
A bottle of imported wine in a Shanghai wine bar costs $152 on average.
A bottle of imported wine in a Shanghai wine bar costs $152 on average.
Corbis

The Chinese bourgeoisie, growing rich from the country's property and banking industries, is developing expensive tastes — and not just for sports cars and designer bags. Thanks to a new craze for high-end alcoholic drinks, the Chinese rising class is spending thousands of dollars on imported beer, whisky, and wine. Here's a data-focused look at the booze boom:

$2,720
Price of a bottle of 62 Gun Salute, a Scotch whisky brand launched in China last month by Royal Salute Whisky (18,000 CNY)

24 carat
Quality of gold on the crest, collar, and crown of the 62 Gun Salute bottle

$80 million
Amount China spent on Scotch whisky in 2009

20 percent
Share of the global Scotch whisky market accounted for by Chinese consumers

$160 million
Projected amount China will spend on Scotch whisky in 2014

22 percent
Annual growth in Chinese Scotch whisky consumption since 1990

$152
Average price of a bottle of imported wine in a Shanghai wine bar (1,000 CNY)

97 percent
Growth in the volume of Bordeaux wine exported to China in 2009, making it the biggest market for Bordeaux wines outside the European Union

13.7 million
Liters of Bordeaux wine Chinese drinkers bought in 2009

1.3 billion
Liters of Bordeaux wine Chinese drinkers are projected to buy in 2013

60 percent
Increase in the price of a bottle of Lafite Rothschild 1982 in the past year, driven by Chinese demand for the vintage Bordeaux

$1,000
Current asking price in China for a low-end bottle of vintage Lafite Rothschild

8
The Chinese number that Lafite Rothschild has incorporated into the design of its vintage 2008 bottles' labels. The vintner hopes the character, considered auspicious by Chinese consumers, will help boost sales yet further.

$44
Cost, in China, of a bottle of "Blue Ribbon 1844" beer, known in North America as Pabst Blue Ribbon (PBR)

$1.50
Approximate cost, in North America, of a "tall boy" 24 oz. can of Pabst Blue Ribbon

$30 billion
The value of China's beer market, the biggest in the world by volume

$0.30
Approximate cost, in China, of a can of domestic Chinese beer (2 CNY)

Sources: Reuters (2), China Daily, Guardian, Daily Telegraph, Asia News, New Yorker, Daily Market

 

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