The deal, on the back of winning a Silver medal at the 2015 Asian Beer Cup, comes after 12 months of planning and negotiations including research trips to China to assess market opportunities.
Hawthorn said in a statement that China is the largest beer consuming nation in the world, yet imported beer still accounts for only a fraction of this market and is dominated by European and US brands.
“With the burgeoning middle class, there is real demand for premiumisation, and craft beer certainly ticks this box with mass appeal to this growing Chinese consumer bracket,” said co-founder and managing director Peter Willis.
“Couple this with the high regard Chinese consumers have for Australian products, and the opportunities are exciting.
“We have worked very closely with our distributor to ensure that our products have consumer appeal, including adopting a Chinese name for the brand and altering the label to enhance the Australian providence of the beer.
“China has proven to be a very challenging market to enter, with many administrative hurdles to negotiate, however we are finally there and very excited about the prospects of launching in such a large market”.
The company said it is currently in talks regarding additional Asian export deals for markets including northern China, Philippines, Hong Kong and Japan, where Hawthorn co-founder Hamish Reed will be a guest judge at the 2016 International Beer Cup, to be held in Tokyo in September.
The deal expands Hawthorn’s international footprint, which also includes UK and France.