As many of you probably do, we love cooling off the hot summer with fresh beers. Since the Tsingtao-Beer festival is quickly approaching, some of you may want to hold on learning Chinese and pay a visit to the festival, so we thought it could be interesting to share some information about it.
Tsingtao beer comes from the city of Qingdao in the Shandong province and is often considered China’s national beer. Therefore, the largest beer festival in Asia will once again take place in China, the Qingdao International Beer Festival 2014 will be held August 16th – 31st and will see the biggest and best breweries from all around the world descend upon the Century Plaza for the 24th time.
The connection and history between beer and Qingdao began as Germany occupied the city, from 1891 to 1914, as the First World War was beginning. During this period, German investment started to flow into the city and urban construction began on a huge scale. The result of this investment included the Qingdao-Jinan railway line as well as Qingdao holding the highest number of schools per person in all of China. The current high-speed Qingdao-Jinan railway line was constructed along the same route as the line built in 1904.
The German architectural influence is undeniable, as can be seen in the picture above. Another major outcome of Germany’s occupation of Qingdao was the establishment of the Germania Brewery in 1903, which later became the globally renowned Tsingtao Brewery.
The beer we know today as Tsingtao was named after the city of Qingdao, however the translation was made by the École française d’Extrême-Orient – The French School of the Far-East. The organization was responsible for the first Romanization system of Mandarin. The system was used until what is known today as Hanyu Pinyin was developed, and both Pinyin and the Romanized system developed by the French Institute share many similarities.
The city had to wait until its 100th birthday until its first festival in 1991. Over the years the festival has evolved into the “Asian Oktoberfest”, so you can expect to see big names in the brewing industry such as Carlsberg from Denmark, Becks from Germany and Budweiser from the United States, while Heineken and Corona will represent Holland and Mexico respectively.
Today, the festival is a beer infused carnival with the traditional grand opening ceremony and concert being swiftly followed by the incumbent visitors who enjoy brews from around the world. Drinking competitions and entertainment last the full 2-week period followed by a themed closing ceremony. Those who join in the festivities in Qingdao will no-doubt notice the enthusiastic locals, who are routinely seen offering foreign expatriates a drink. Walking around the beer tents you will be encouraged to “Ganbei!” by nearby drinkers, as everyone drinks up and carries on with the excitement.
Qingdao is called the “Green Island”, although the city itself contains no distinct island, and relaxed and laid-back locals refer to it as the “Island City”. Visitors to the city in August can enjoy plenty away from the festival as well, as the city is host to some of China’s best beaches and European architecture. So we hope you will have the chance to go and visit the beautiful city of Qingdao, or simply drop off by the Festival and enjoy some great beers!
The TMCC Team