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Demand for Premium Beer in China Driving Growth in Canada's Barley Production

Rising demand for premium beer in China has been driving growth and innovation for Canada’s barley producers. China is the largest beer market in the world, and as incomes rise, consumers are increasingly turning away from mass-market brands, prompting the market share for premium lager to double over the five years ending in 2017. Barley planting had declined by 30 percent over the past 10 years as North American farmers opted for more profitable crops such as lentils and peas. However, Canada’s barley has higher protein content than other nations, including Australia, and rising demand has resulted in a reversal of this trend, with barley acreage across Canada jumping by 13 percent in 2018.

In 2017 Canada saw its malt-barley exports to China hit a record 1.4 million tons - surpassing the amount of malt-barley being used domestically for the first time. And despite challenging weather conditions this season, Canada is still expected to export 1 million tons of barley to China this year - the second highest volume on record.

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