Japanese beer maker Kirin Brewery Co. is to buy a 25% stake in China's Hangzhou Qiandaohu Brewery Co. in a deal worth JPY4.5bn (US$38.1m).

Kirin said it also has the option to boost its stake in the Chinese brewer to 49%.

The deal is Kirin's latest attempt to build a presence in the world's largest beer market, which continues to see a raft of its domestic brewers snapped up by larger, multinational brewers.

Last week, SABMiller, which has a 49% stake in China Resources Snow Breweries, said it had bought two more Chinese brewers for a total of US$22.4m.

Kirin's latest quarry, Hangzhou Qiandaohu, has an annual capacity of 1.6m hectolitres. Philippines conglomerate San Miguel Corp., in which Kirin owns a 20% stake, owns three breweries in China with a combined capacity of 6.1m hl.

Hangzhou Qiandaohu is based in the Yangtze river delta and produces Cheerday beer.

Kirin, which is fighting it out with Asahi Breweries, for leadership in the Japanese beer market, is eyeing the buoyant consumption of beer in China as demand back home stagnates.