GUANGZHOU: The drinks industry has reported above-average sales in the past month thanks to local enthusiasm for the just-concluded football World Cup.
Zhong Yang, secretary of Guangzhou Spirits Industry Association, told China Daily that sales of spirits reached 1.5 billion yuan (US$185 million) during the World Cup period, a surge of over 30 per cent on the average month.
"Foreign brands were the big sellers this month," Zhong added.
Bar owners expressed their satisfaction with World Cup-driven sales.
"Sales of spirits and beer at our bar more than doubled during the World Cup period," said Lu Zhonghua, owner of 1996 Bar in Guangzhou's Tianhe District.
"We had special promotions throughout the competition, which helped increase sales."
Lu said that foreign whisky and European lagers were the big sellers.
Qu Subei, marketing director of Deluxe Bar on Yanjiang Road, a popular nightspot in the city, said the tournament brought big profits.
"Sales of spirits and beer made substantial contributions to our business," Su said. "I wish the World Cup hadn't ended so soon!"
A bottle of foreign spirits costs between 500 yuan (US$61) and 1,000 yuan (US$125) in bars in the southern city.
Local residents said they had no regrets about the amount they spent watching the games.
"It's a pleasure to gulp beer and sip Chivas in a bar while watching exciting football matches," said Yang Yi, a lawyer who watched almost every game at a local pub.
He said that he spent about 6,000 yuan (US$740) on drinks during the period, and his friends spent more or less the same.
"We sometimes betted on games, and whoever lost had to down a glass of beer or a shot of whisky," he said.
"Alcohol can make football games more enjoyable. However, excess drinking is bad for you," warned Qiu Baihua, a doctor with Guangzhou Huaqiao Hospital.
She said that her hospital had received several drunk fans early in the morning during the past month, with one in such a bad state that he had already entered a deep coma before he arrived.
(China Daily 07/11/2006 page3)