Qingdao has had a long German history and influence. No more so than that embodies by the Tsingtao Brewery which was opened in the city in 1903.
The Fountain in front of the Tsingtao Brewery Museum.
The Museum entrance.
It bears mentioning that the Tsingtao Museum and brewery was cheaper to get into than the PLA Navy museum (Only 60RMB as opposed to 80RMB) - Qingdao obviously has it's priorities right!
After entering the museum the first room visitors are greeted with shows the extent to which Tsingtao (and Qingdao, and by extension China as a whole) have come comparing 1903 to today: An interesting set of panoramas are on display; first of Qingdao bay:
and of the brewery itself:
In the words of the information posted throughout the museum, the Tsingtao Brewery has "experienced many vicissitudes of life" since its founding in 1903, and this experience is "inseparably connected to Qingdao city" itself. China is rightfully proud of arguably its most famous beer, and is also proud of how the brewing that has taken place in the city for well over a century now, and is a "paragon succeeding [sic] in integrating Eastern and Western Culture"
It's also a pretty good chance to spread a bit of Chinese Communist Party (CCP) propaganda as well. But you have got to love this turn of phrase that caught my eye as I left the first room:
"History is centuries old, but Tsingtao beer will be fresh forever"!
The museum is in the original office building of the brewery and brings together an interesting collection of documents and relics from the history of the brewery - including the original label, and the original trademark letter - interesting, because if you look at a modern bottle of Tsingtao - it touts the beer as "China's well known trademark".
Original trademark issued under the Nationalist Chinese Government of the early 1900s
Top right: The original Tsingtao Beer label
My Chinese is a bit dodgy - but I think this is telling me that Tsingtao is in fact brewed in several places in China. (I should have forked over an extra 60RMB [like $11??] and got my own English Speaking guide to explain these things to me):
Likewise, I think these output figures put Tsingtao at about 715,000 tonnes of beer a year, and the whole shebang is valued at $615 Billion dollars. Not too shabby!
There was of course a huge display of different products made at the brewery - including what appears to be some rather cute characters on the sides of the can. No PC bullshit about appealing to youngsters in China!
Figures from Chinese History:
What appears to be non-alcoholic beer, or what I like to call "un-beer":
The original brew house still stands on the to the right of the main entrance but no longer contains any working brew implements. It's red brick facade stretches up into a pretty glorious early afternoon Qingdao sky here.
Old brewing stuff.
If it were me I would see a doctor....
There is something of a roof garden as the old brewery house joins the new. Here getting water (the same used in the beer) are some hops growing:
Back inside I came across some very good words to live by:
Beer was defined as health food by the 9th World Health Conference held in Mexico on the first of July 1972.
There you have it! There's no arguing it now. Beer is a health food. That's my story and I'm stickin' to it! Interestingly a bottle of Tsingtao has the same calories as 4 eggs, as well as various other nutritional advantages!
Tsingtao labels through the years
Near the end of the tour through the old brewery there is a chance to sample some raw beer at the bar, straight from the vat:
Not a bad job!
4 years on (almost to the day) and Yao Ming is still bloody everywhere!
The New Brewery
Wandering out of the brewery one passes a number of examples of Tsingtao marketing - including this series which is reminiscent of a Steinlarger ad campaign in the early 90's - "They're drinking our beer here!"
South Korea!! Although by the looks of the cars, the Fact Namdaemun hasn't been burnt down and the veritable lack of tall buildings in the background - I would say this particular ad campaign is a bit older than the 1990s. (Late 80s???)
The museum is quite pleasant to wander around - even without a tour guide, and everything is in (at least passable) English and can be quite informative at times. There is a gift shop at the end, where I was able to fulfill the one promise I made myself before coming to China - get a Tsingtao polo shirt. Done. Fits too!