Selling U.S. wine in China? Try pairing it with a burger festival

By Jim Boyce | I often hear how it’s hard to connect the amazing wines of [country name] to consumers in China. How do we reach all those young adventurous people out there who might give our wines a try, is a common sentiment .

This holds true for U.S. wines. Yes, the current trade dispute with China has put a damper on sales. But the numbers were far from spectacular the preceding seven years.

Anyway, I attended today’s press conference for The Beijinger magazine’s annual Burger Festival. This two-day festival attracts 14,000-plus paying attendees, who enjoy music and games and feast at 50 booths featuring burgers, craft beer, and more. The GM of The Beijinger said over 90% of attendees are aged 21 to 39, 75% are Chinese citizens and 25% expats, and they spent ~2.6 million rmb at last year’s event.

These survey stats from the last festival stuck out: “55% [said] I changed my opinion of my favorite burger” and “78% of visitors purchased a vendor’s product / service as a result of hearing of them via the festival.”

That sounds like a good chance to reach young adventurous consumers interested in foreign drink and food, and with a reasonable amount of disposable income, all in a fun environment.

There’s more. This year’s event, June 22-23, has a U.S. theme: Route 66.

Also, along with bands, DJs and activities, the main stage will feature a singing contest–this was very popular last time.

When I mentioned U.S. wine to the organizers today, one proposed idea was to find a California wine sponsor and focus that song contest on entries with the state’s name in their titles: California Gurls (Katy Perry & Snoop Dogg), Hotel California (Eagles), California Dreamin’ (The Mamas & The Papas), etc.

Will we see U.S. wines at this event? Who knows. Last year, sibling event The Pizza Festival had an Italian theme. It also had a dearth of wine from that country, despite the woeful numbers for Italian wine in China amid those common queries of how to reach consumers.

If anyone is interested, let me know via beijingboyce (at) I’ll connect you to the The Beijinger and you can take it from there.

Finally, here are some photos from the most recent Beijinger festival, the Hot & Spicy one, to give an idea of what’s involved: the fun starts around noon each day and continues until after sunset. You can also click here for coverage and photos of the 2017 Burger Festival, which I attended and which was fun.

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