The skateboarding shoemaker Vans teamed up with the American craft brewery Goose Island for an exclusive skateboarding carnival in Shanghai.
On March 18, Vans China and Goose Island invited beer-lovers and skaters to “experience the American lifestyle” at Shanghai’s Binjiang Skatepark. As China’s skateboarding mecca, Shanghai made the ideal location for the event, drawing on the now well-cultivated community of devoted skaters who enjoy the city’s ever expanding list of skateparks and competitions. The event featured a selection of Goose Island beers on draught, snack stalls, a skateboarding taster class, a skateboarding competition, and a live DJ set.
The event capitalises on the rising popularity of skateboarding and craft beer, which have both skyrocketed in China over the last few years. The e-commerce site Tmall reportedly saw a 290% year-on-year increase in skateboard sales during 2022’s 618 shopping festival, after the sport’s first appearance in the Olympics in 2021 raised its profile significantly.
Craft beer has steadily been gaining ground in China’s beer market, which was once dominated by the likes of Snow and Tsingtao – homegrown favourites whose weaker flavour makes it the perfect companion for spicy hot pot or baijiu (China’s fiery rice wine) sessions. Now Chinese consumers are gaining an appetite for a stronger flavoured beer, with the volume of craft beer produced in the country almost quadrupling between 2015 and 2020. Craft beer also goes in hand-in-hand with the “tipsy economy”, a new trend characterised by a greater demand for lower percentage alcohol drinks and more female drinkers.
Retro sportswear has also been booming on China’s urban fashion scene since 2022. The beauty of the trend, called “blokecore”, is that it makes many aspects of skateboarding culture, which has typically been seen as male-dominated, more appealing to the masses. Vans and Goose Island made good use of all of these trends to solidify their brand images in the eyes of Chinese consumers.