SABMiller's Chinese joint venture, China Resources Snow Breweries, is to buy a brewery in the country's Shandong province for around US$42m.

CR Snow, which is 49%-owned by SABMiller and 51%-owned by China Resources Enterprise, is to acquire 90% of Shandong Hupo Brewery's assets, via the formation of a joint venture with the brewery, SABMiller announced today (13 March).

CR Snow will then have the option of swallowing all of Hupo Brewery's assets within three years, SAB added.

The deal is the fourth brewery acquisition announced by CR Snow in the last month. In February, the group said it would pay a total of $110m to acquire 80%, 85% and 100% of the assets of Anqing Tianzhu Beer Company, Liaoning Songlin Brewery Group Company and Zhejiang Luck Beer Company respectively.

SABMiller said that the Hupo deal marks CR Snow's first acquisition in China's northern Shandong province, which has the highest beer consumption of the country's provinces.

Hupo has a capacity of 2.7m hectolitres, but SABMiller said that $8m will be spent to increase this to 3m hl.

Ari Mervis, managing director of SABMiller Asia, said; "Snow continues to enjoy good growth in China and the significant import sales volume that the brand already enjoys in the province certainly justifies the establishment of a production base here. The brewery has a strategic location in northern Shandong and is well connected by highways to the other major cities in this region."

SABMiller claimed late last year that sales figures showed Snow had become the biggest beer brand in the world.