By Jim Boyce
Beijing-based wine importer CHEERS will celebrate four years of business tonight with a party at its Gulou branch, one of more than a dozen shopsÂ the company has opened in the city since 2011.
CHEERSÂ targets younger consumers, stocks budget-friendly optionsÂ from rmb29 per bottle, and offers free weekly wine tastings. Shops like the one in Sanlitun, a popular shopping and nightlife area, include patios or bars so customers can drinkÂ wine on premise.Â More recently, CHEERS has started to offerÂ WSET courses, teamed its wines with events such as comedy shows, and launchedÂ shopsÂ beyond Beijing — the first opened in Chengdu last year and one in Shanghai isÂ slated to open next month.
A great deal of coverage of the China wine sceneÂ focuses on priceyÂ brands or major producers and importers, but smaller players like CHEERS — not to mention its knockoffs: I’m told at leastÂ three operations have copied everything from CHEERS’ staff uniforms to the shop’s color schemes — are an intriguing part of this rapidly developing market.
Also see this interviewÂ I did with co-owner Claudia Masueger, for Wine Business International last year.
[Note: Tonight’s party starts at 8 PM. Entry is rmb30 and includes free bubbly.Â Check here for the directions.]
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