Edinburgh-based Flavourly has welcomed Scotland’s largest ever import of Chinese craft beer – 10,000 bottles of Panda Brew
An Edinburgh-based drinks tech firm is bringing a new wave of Pandas to Britain – six years after Tian Tian and Yang Guang were introduced at Edinburgh Zoo. These pandas, however, are far less shy and will be going behind bars and into boxes of a very different nature.
Online bottle shop and craft drinks specialist Flavourly has struck a deal with leading Chinese craft brewer Panda Brew to import more than 10,000 bottles of its craft beer. It’s believed that it’s the first time Chinese craft beer has been brought into the country on this scale.
The beers are now on sale at flavourly.com, with several thousand of the bottles going into the company’s popular craft beer subscription boxes.
Flavourly CEO David Moore, an Asia veteran who lived and worked in China during his time with Diageo, said: “Panda Brew is China’s leading craft brewer, and we were very keen to import their beers, and continue to offer our customers something very new and very unique to our bottle shop and craft beer subscription clubs.
“China is a massive market, and offers huge potential for Scottish brewers. Having a reciprocal import deal, where all parties mutually benefit, is a brilliant step forward for beer lovers in the UK and in China. We’re very keen to promote this two-way relationship with brewers and distributors in China.
“And there is of course a strong connection to Edinburgh. The city’s zoo is home to the famous Giant Pandas Tian Tian and Yang Guang, and the Panda Brew team also have links here.”
Moore explained that the Flavourly deal follows a visit by Panda founders Kurt Xia and Pan Dinghao to Glasgow and Edinburgh last year. They were accompanied by their head brewer, Chen Zhengying, a graduate of the acclaimed International Centre for Brewing and Distilling at Heriot-Watt University in Edinburgh.
During the 2016 visit, Panda’s Chen teamed up with his old classmate and brewer Craig Scotland at Stewart Brewing in Edinburgh and Jake Griffin, head brewer at Drygate. Working with the Drygate and Stewart Brewing teams, Chen created two limted edition collaboration beers.
Moore added: “We had Kurt and his chief brewer Chen over last year, where they spent time at Dyrgate and Stewart Brewing, with Chen meeting up with his old classmate Craig Scotland as well as Drygate brewer Jake Griffin.
“The beer they made – Flying Panda – was, appropriately, flying out the door and we saw there was a deep interest in Chinese craft beer among beer fans.”
An export deal, Moore said, followed on from the visit and was done via the Craft Beer Clan of Scotland, which recently announced it had exported more than one million bottles of Scottish craft beer in the past year, with many going to the key export market China.
Moore, who is also a director at the Craft Beer Clan, added: “Our strong relationship with Panda will certainly help Scottish brewers access new markets in China, so it’s excellent we were able to help turn the relationship into a two-way deal. I think that’s hugely positive, and I hope just the start.”
Flavourly, which was founded by entrepreneurs Ryan O’Rorke and Assean Sheikh, said the five-figure deal follows a number of other deals with international brewers, further cementing its reputation as a leading craft beer subscription service. It also comes after Flavourly last month released four “crowd-sourced” beers that were developed after the tech firm analysed 140,000 customer reviews to identify the flavours and styles that appealed most to its customers.