sole UK distributor, replacing distribution deals with Westmill Foods and Global Brands.
plan s to drive sales as interest in
Chinese culture grows ahead of the Beijing Olympics this year.
an official Olympic sponsor, hopes to become the UK's leading imported Asian beer
within five years.
Halewood plans to link the 4.7 per cent abv lager to Chinese food in multiple grocers, with a long-term aim of making it part of UK consumers' main imported premium beer repertoire.
Halewood chairman and chief executive John Halewood said: "Tsingtao is synonymous with Chinese restaurant culture and is loved by a large, loyal ≠consumer base in the UK. We believe we can capitalise on the product's heritage, quality and strong but latent usage. "
Tsingtao's international headquarters general manager Wang Zhiguo said: "We have consolidated all distribution for the UK and Ireland to enable us to exploit the near-universal distribution we enjoy in the ethnic out-of-home sector as a ≠platform for much wider sales and distribution growth."
Pierhead Purchasing also hopes to capitalise on interest in the Beijing Olympics as it launches its own Chinese beer. ZhuJiang Pearl River is a 5.3 per cent abv lager brewed with Czech hops, Chinese rice and Canadian barley, which is a good match for Cantonese food and other Asian cookery, according to Pierhead.