China: 23rd Annual International Beer Festival Kicks Off in Qingdao

Festivals and Holidays

Tsingtao Beer is one of China’s most widely recognized brands. As the Qingdao International Beer Festival kicks off in the former German colony, Michael Taylor reminisces about his first trip to the city in 2006.

A group of journalists and travel writers were invited by tourism officials of Shandong, China, on a whirlwind familiarization tour of the province.

Their itinerary began in the city of Jinan, famous for its innumerable springs, lovely parks, and charming teahouses. It ended up in the former German port city of Qingdao. The Germans had planned on making the city the capital of their East Asian Empire.

Along the way, we stopped at Mount Tai, one of China’s legendary sacred mountains, Qufu, the birthplace of Confucius, and Zibo, which claims to be the birthplace of soccer. They visited temples, pagodas, museums, historic districts, and shrines.

Indelible Teutonic Imprint

The final stop on our tour was the seaside city of Qingdao, which was colonized briefly by the Germans, who left behind tree-lined streets, charming residential neighborhoods, imposing pubilc buildings, majestic churches, and an impressive infrastructure.

The storm sewers, telephone lines, and electrical wires installed by the Germans are still in use.

One of the most popular stops on the one week whirlwind tour of Shandong Province was a visit to the Tsingtao Beer Brewery and Museum in Qingdao.

“A trip to the Tsingtao Beer Brewery and Museum is a good way to get to know the city’s beer legacy,” says a press release issued by The China Guide

“The self-guided tour presents how this beer got its start from German settlers, the current brewing process, the beer’s evolution, and it’s popularity worldwide.”

300 Kinds of Beer on Tap!

I returned to Qingdao the following year to attend the Qingdao International Beer Festival, which runs from 10 to 25 August this year (2013). It has grown in scope, now offering the chance to sample more than 300 kinds of beer from 27 brands in 18 countries.

There is also lots of yummy food as well as entertainment, parades, beer tastings, drinking competitions, and many other activities during the two week festival.

Note: Tsingtao, the beer, and Qingdao, the city, are pronounced exactly the same, and they represent the same two characters in Chinese. The beer, in fact, was named after the city.

So why the different spellings?

Tsingtao is how the city was spelt in English before the pinyin system of romanization was adopted by China in 1982. The brand retained the spelling because it was already well established in the marketplace.


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