So Brewdog has finally sold out. The ‘punk’ craft beer brand has entered a joint venture with Budweiser to brew its beers in China, which should result in cans of Punk IPA, Hazy Jane and Elvis Juice being distributed across the country from March.

Not so long ago, the Scottish brewer wanted little to do with such “global beer mega corporations”. A BrewDog blog post from 2015 claimed such companies had “destroyed, bastardised and commoditised beer” over the previous half-century.

That blog even namechecked Budweiser over parent AB InBev’s purchase of craft brewery Goose Island in 2011. “Now mainly made at a Budweiser brewery in upstate New York, Goose Island is still marketed as being brewed in Chicago,” BrewDog complained – also bemoaning that in Canada, the beer’s recipe had changed for the worse.

But even punks can’t argue with good distribution. And while accusations of hypocrisy are well-founded, the move is a good one for both BrewDog and British craft beer.

Tapping Budweiser allows BrewDog to leverage the experience and connections of one of the biggest beer companies in China. Producing locally at Budweiser China’s Putian Craft Brewery in Fujian province will also ensure a better-quality product than what could be imported.

That should help it meet the biggest demand for beer of any country in the world. While Chinese beer consumption slowed by 7% to 42.7 billion litres in 2020 due to the pandemic, according to the US Department of Agriculture, the market shows every sign of growing as Chinese consumers get richer.

“The import market remains relatively unsaturated with no clearly dominant beer-producing country,” said a 2022 report from the department. “Craft beer is growing steadily in popularity and consumers are ready to try new brands.”

It’s therefore an ideal market for a disruptive brand with a reputation for challenging incumbents. So although BrewDog has irked many of its peers on its way to the top of the British craft beer market, the industry should welcome its expansion into China.

That’s because it could put British beer on the map in a lucrative market. China is already home to some keen connoisseurs of scotch whisky – direct exports to China were worth £233m in 2022, according to the Scotch Whisky Association.

BrewDog, based in Ellon, Aberdeenshire, is better placed than anyone to repeat the trick for British craft beer.

For one, the company has form expanding in Asia, having partnered with Asahi in Japan in September 2021. BrewDog has said that helped it double sales in the country.

Secondly, it has substantial weight. While it still clings to its craft credentials, BrewDog is the 14th most valuable beer in the world. According to a report from Brand Finance in August, its global value had risen 8% year on year to $2bn.

That makes it the most valuable craft beer brand in the world. Which means it has every chance of selling well – not just selling out – in China.