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2007/02/17

Chinese Beer Taking Over the US?

While many of you are out shopping for your Spring Festival feast, if it is to include alcohol, you may be surprised at the many new options. While my co-author, being a right, honorable Dongbei ren would declare the proper way to toast the new year is with glass after glass of baijiu, for those who dislike the white stuff but still want to drink, the main choice left is beer. See, for whatever reason, there is nothing better with a good Chinese meal than a nice, cold beer. While many we know will be gathering 'round the table and chowing down on hot pot and freshly made dumplings, they'll also be pounding down some beers. A city isn't a real city in China if it doesn't have its own local brew. While around the world the most famous Chinese beer is Qingdao (Tsingtao), its highly debatable what the favorite beer of China is. While I'm not the biggest fan of Qingdao, traveling to the city of Qingdao is an interesting experience that shouldn't be passed up. Beautiful beaches, lovely architecture, and good, fresh beer. One of the most interesting experiences in Qingdao is going down to the local shop where, instead of selling bottles of beer, you grab a plastic bag and fill it up from the factory fresh keg at the door.

Anyways, back on subject, those in the US (and it seems the UK) will be spoiled for choice this year when they go down to their local alcohol emporium. For the longest time, the only Chinese beer available was Qingdao, but recently a number of others have been popping up. Over the summer, I came across Qingdao Draft and SiWu (XiHu, from Hangzhou) in the stores. The fall brought with it the discovery of Beijing's famed Yanjing Beer (pictured below).But most importantly was this winter's discovery of Harbin Beer in the stores. Viewing the green 6 pack holder with HARBIN on the front almost stopped us in our tracks at the store, followed by us buying all the store sold. There are larger bottles available that have a fancy white wrapper around them with some cool circular logos on one side and a beautiful, cursive Harbin on the other side. My co-writer (did I mention he's from the Northeast?) would consider this the only acceptable alternative (or in addition) to paint thinner baijiu. Harbin is imported by Anheuser Busch (who took over the brewery a few years ago) through Harbin Beer Ltd Wuhan (WHAT???), but at least it keeps the Harbin name and the great logo Pictures of the glorious nectar can be found below:


Here's a picture of the Yanjing and Harbin bottles side by side:
Whatever you use to toast the new year, drink responsibly and have fun!

1 comment:

ChinaLawBlog said...

That's wild. Next thing we'll be seeing Changyu and Great Wall wines in the US.