English beer is an acquired taste to the non-English. But just as China's Tsingtao Bear trades on its exoticness the world over, there's nothing to stop Double Maxim beer going down a treat with Shanghai sophisticates.
Double Maxim is brewed and bottled in Sunderland, north east England, a city which is called many things but rarely exotic. This obscure bottled beer was first brewed in 1901 and was created to celebrate the arrival of the Maxim Gun detachment from the Boer War.
Fast forward, a century and British businessman Tim Finley had the original idea to try to sell Double Maxim and equally obscure Villa Pop, a soft drinks brand from Sunderland, into the Chinese market.
His company, Red Beverages, specialises in sourcing unusual beers and drinks from the north east England for the Chinese market. It has a sales office in HK and Finley hopes the novelty value and red branding will help him stand out in a consumer market driven as much by fashion as by taste.
After testing the waters last year with modest shipments, Red Beverages has just shipped its first full container, loaded with Double Maxim and Villa Pop. It next plans to try some of other beers produced by the Maxim brewery. Interviewed by the Sunderland Echo, Finley said.
Double Maxim is already selling really well in China and this is a trial for Villa. Hopefully, they will both be as successful as each other. We are looking at taking Maximus into China next, then probably Ward's Bitter. The great thing about Double Maxim for the Chinese market is it's in red packaging and they also class it as a red beer.”