Beer drinking hasn’t always been part of Chinese culture – until the 1980s most beer went to export. However, its popularity is growing, though in China, beer is usually only enjoyed as part of a celebration.
Kirin Beer Ichiban
From one of the oldest Far Eastern breweries, the beer is named after a Chinese mythological creature – the Kirin – that’s seen as a harbinger of good luck. Produced exclusively from malt, hops and water, the beer uses just the first (ichiban) press of the wort, giving the beer a unique taste and flavour that’s elegant and refreshing.
The Tsingtao brewery was founded in 1903 by German settlers in China, developing over the years into China’s second largest beer producer and the world’s most widely-exported Chinese beer. A pilsner style that was originally brewed to German standards, the modern version now includes rice as an adjunct to the mash. This, combined with use of just Laoshan mountain spring water in the brewing process, gives Tsingtao a very drinkable taste. Uniquely, Tsingtao beer is not made under license – so every bottle does truly originate from China. You’ll be serving your customers the genuine article!
Created in 1930s Singapore, and much appreciated by Service personnel stationed there before (and after) WWII, Tiger Beer first reached the UK market in the 1980s. Winner of the World Beer Cup Gold Award in 2004 and innumerable awards since, Tiger Beer is a full-bodied lager, with malty character and a crisp finish. It complements both spicy and fragrant dishes perfectly, making it an ideal partner for virtually every kind of Chinese dish – perhaps explaining why to many it’s the definitive Asian lager.
Kwei Chow Moutai Chew
A brand of baijiu distilled Chinese liquor – this is the only alcoholic beverage presented as an official gift by Chinese embassies in foreign countries.
Distilled from fermented sorghum, Moutai is the country’s most expensive domestic spirit, older bottles selling for millions of Yuan at auctions. Indeed, it could be said that Maotai is the world’s only socialist luxury brand!
China’s first Premier, Zhou Enlai claimed that the success of the revolution was partly down to Moutai – the liquor having been used by soldiers on the Long March to sterilise wounds and cure a range of ailments. All you need to know is that if you want to give customers a uniquely Chinese taste – of something regarded by the Chinese like the western world regards champagne – then serve Moutai!
But be careful – it’s 53% and very definitely an acquired taste – but a truly memorable way to finish any Chinese New Year celebration!
Happy New Year!
Kung Hei Fat Choi!