This article was originally written for Belgian newspaper De Tijd and published on 20 December 2013. I have now translated it for any English-speaking readership.

Belgian beer is hip in China. In many places, Belgian brands are growing more strongly than others. Duvel-Moortgat wants to conquer the Chinese market with its Vedett “Penguin” and “Polar Bear”. Chinese especially appreciate the higher quality of the beer.


A normal business day in Kunming, the capital of south-western Yunnan province. On the patio of O’Reilly’s Irish Pub, a group of Chinese in a noticeably advanced state of happiness make each other laugh. Nothing special in itself. After all, drinking is a popular pastime in China. But the fact that they have traded the classic watery liquid for Vedett Extra White or a glass of draft De Coninck, is noteworthy. Especially because this city is over 2,000 km away from hip metropolises such as Shanghai and Beijing, and mainly surrounded by poor rural areas.