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The history of the demise of Chinese beer: the beer we drank in those years

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John Lau.

In the face of the market economy, most of the beer brands that once dominated the market, except for a few large wineries, have become the leaders, and most of them have been defeated by capital bombing. These dying brands, as well as the memories of that era, fade away in the fight in the adult world…

The history of the demise of Chinese beer

It is cool and refreshing, it is marketable and grounded, it is cheap and good in quality, it was full of regional characteristics, and it carries people’s youthful memories. Today, I want to talk to you about beer: the glorious memories of Chinese beer and the surging stories behind them.


Chinese beer history

“Beer” in Chinese history is not without a trace. As early as a thousand years ago, we had mastered the “tiller” method of brewing lees (grain germination brewing method). It is only in the development of the times that Li is gradually replaced by wine. So in later generations, we drank rice wine, yellow wine, fruit wine, distilled wine… but we never drank beer.

Chinese beer history

900 is a year that Chinese beer fans should remember. The Russians established China’s first brewery in Harbin—Ulubrechowski Brewery (the predecessor of Harbin Brewery). In 1903, the Germans and the British The joint venture established Yingde Beer Company (the predecessor of Tsingtao Brewery) in Qingdao. In 1914, Beijing established the Shuanghesheng Brewery (the predecessor of Five Star Beer); in 1935, Guangzhou established the predecessor of Guangzhou Brewery-Wuyang Brewery. China’s beer culture has now become very lively.

Old photos of Harbin Brewery in the early days of PRC

Old photos of Harbin Brewery in the early days of PRC

After the founding of New China, Tianjin, Hangzhou, Wuhan, Chongqing, Xi’an, Lanzhou, Kunming and other places invested in new breweries, with an annual output of 2,000 tons. In 1979, there were more than 90 breweries nationwide, with an output of 373,000 tons.
In the national wine appraisal held in the 1980s, there were not a few award-winning beers-Shanghai Beer, Jiafeng Beer, Tsingtao Beer, Five Star Beer, West Lake Beer, Beijing Beer, Snow Beer. Next, the little alcohol boy will show you the beer we drank in those years.


Geographical Distribution of Famous Beers in China


Beijing, a city with a profound cultural heritage and a secular and glamorous market atmosphere, of course, is indispensable for beer. Not only that, the beer here, like this city, has a sense of superiority that is proud and lonely in the world. This can be seen in Yanjing Beer: It is said that this is the only large-scale beer company in China that has never cooperated with foreign capital.

yan jing beer labels

Yan jing beer labels

When Yanjing Beer had not ventured into the capital, the people in Beijing looked for the Five Star and Beijing Beer. Since the two wineries have one east and the other west, there is a saying that “buy north beer in the east of the city and five stars in the west”. Beijing Beer, once famous as a specialty of Beijing and wine for state banquets, dates back to 1941 and is now merged with Japan’s Asahi Beer Co., Ltd. Once upon a time, Beijing Beer was also the endorsement wine of Beijing’s “Scenic Historic Sites”-Beihai White Tower, Tiananmen Square, and Temple of Heaven can all be found in it.

Beijing image endorsement wine Beijing beer

Beijing Five Star Brewery, a well-known beer brand in the past, has actually been used since 1980. Tracing back to its roots, it is Beijing Shuanghesheng Beer Soda Factory with a history of 100 years. Unfortunately, after the winery was acquired by Tsingtao Brewery, the brand has disappeared.

The lost five-star beer

In addition, Tiantan Beer and Lido Beer, the once-prosperous Beijing-produced beer, are now owned by a few giants.


How can Shanghai, an international style, get less beer? Libo Beer, Shanghai Beer, Bright Beer, and Donghai Beer are all well-known local brands. Of course, as a modern trading port, Shanghai is also the landing place for many imported beers to enter China.

a la shanghai people's beer


Comrades in Tianjin, don’t complain that there is no local beer in Tianjin. Tianjin Beer and Great Wall Beer were rare rare brews in the early days. Although the memories of that era are still there, they are gradually forgotten now.

memory of tianjin beer


This is the largest “mountain city” in the world. Therefore, “Mountain City” beer is naturally indispensable. The Chongqing Brewery, which was born in 1958, is now fully owned by the Carlsberg Group.

chongqing beer

Having finished talking about the four municipalities directly under the Central Government, let us now walk from north to south, from west to east, and wander the fond memories of Chinese beer together.


Speaking of Heilongjiang, Harbin Beer must be mentioned. This brand, which was born in 1900, is not only China’s earliest beer manufacturer and China’s earliest beer brand, but it is still popular all over the country. However, Harbin Beer was not the only beer in Heilongjiang in the early days. Mingyue Island, Samsung, Northland, Polaris, Songhuajiang, Shuangyashan, Xiaoxue, and Weihushan are all beer brands that the locals really love.

heilongjiang beer brands


The earliest brewery in Jilin is the Changchun Brewery, which was founded in 1952. Not only that, but also Silver Waterfall Beer, Yanji Glacier Beer, and Changbai Mountain Beer. From the name of these beers, they have some icy coolness. However, the most profound memory of many people in Jilin is Huadan Beer. Its predecessor was Jilin Beer of Jilin Brewery, but it was eventually abandoned by China Resources and replaced by Snow Beer. It is regrettable that the people of Jilin have not witnessed the growth of local brands into major brands.

Jilin beer brands


Snow, should be a well-known brand in Chinese beer, occupying 26% of the Chinese beer market. Examining history, I found that the birthplace of snowflakes was actually in Liaoning. Lao Xuehua won the Gold Cup Award in the Wine Quality Competition of the Ministry of Light Industry in 1984. Commonly known as “drunken donkey, killed 12 degrees”, it is the complex of old Shenyang people. In addition to it, Liaoning also has Daxue Beer, Tianhu Beer, Daocheng Beer, Yalu River, Bingchang Beer and Yingkou Beer.

liaoning beer brands

Inner Mongolia

In this magical grassland, the beer brands of Inner Mongolia are not inferior: Xuelu, Saibeixing, Jinchuan and Hailar are all well-known brands. Of course, the 12 league cities in Inner Mongolia also have many distinctive brands, such as Chifeng Beer and Ningcheng Beer.

Inner Mongolia beer brands

North China-Hebei

Friends in Hebei, history tells us that as early as the Republic of China, Baoding, Hebei had a well-known beer brand-Jinzhong. However, those born in the 70s and 80s should have a deeper feeling for giant beer. In addition, Tangshan Beer, Xuanhua Bell Tower, Cangzhou Blue Dream, and Baoding Blue Star are all well-known brands in Hebei Province.

Inner Mongolia beer brands


Since ancient times, Shanxi has been a place where brands gather, and the song “Shepherd Boy Refers to Xinghua Village” has made Du Mu a free spokesperson for Shanxi wine for more than a thousand years. What’s interesting is that in order to make the “Xinghuacun” brand bloom across the board, Fenjiu Group also produced Xinghuacun beer in early 2000, but unfortunately it was difficult to create the glory of Baijiu Fenjiu. In addition, Yungang Beer, which was founded in 1952, was the largest beer producer in Shanxi at that time, and Yingze Beer, which is familiar to old Shanxi people, is a pity that has basically disappeared now.

Inner Mongolia beer brands

Central China-Henan

Since the 1980s, breweries have been launched in various cities in Henan, reaching more than 70 at the peak. For the people of Henan, Jinxing is definitely a big brand of local brands. In Henan, a major alcohol consumption province, its market coverage has reached 100%, which can be regarded as stabilizing the local brands. At that time, Kaifeng people were obsessed with Bianjing beer, Luoyang people must have a party in Luoyang Palace, Xinxiang people’s cups were filled with the nostalgia of aviation beer, and Yueshan beer from Jiaozuo… They were all the coolness of summer. .

Henan beer brands


Xingyinge Beer is the one that lets the taste of Wuhan into the beer. In the 1980s, Dongxihu Brewery, which produces Xingyin Pavilion, was among the top ten in the national beer industry. With the strong acquisition of Snow Beer, Xingyin Pavilion withdrew from the stage of history. In Hubei people’s memories, there are also Huanghe Beer from Wuhan, Jingzhou Beer from Jingzhou, Gezhouba Beer from Yichang, and Jinlongquan Beer, which is still online.

Hubei beer brands


There was once a brewery in almost every city and state in Hunan. In the late 1990s, Hunan began a wave of mergers and acquisitions in the beer industry. Hengyang’s wild goose beer, Xiangxiang’s Hot Sun (predecessor Xiangxiang Beer), Changsha’s Baisha Beer, Yueyang Tower in Yueyang, Changde’s Chinese… Hunan beer’s local brands have been almost wiped out so far.

Hunan beer brands

East China-Shandong

In Shandong, the largest beer province, beer has become the protagonist. The most famous is undoubtedly the century-old brand Tsingtao Beer. Not only in Qingdao, but the entire Shandong region has a very strong beer food culture. In its heyday, more than 100 beer brands, large and small, appeared. Laoshan, Yinmai, Sankong, Yantai, Baotu Spring, Taishan, Amber, Wuming… Friends from Shandong, how many kinds of these beers have you had?

Shandong beer brands 2

Jiang Su

Compared with the well-known Jiangsu liquor “three ditch and one river”, the beer in Jiangsu is somewhat lonely. In the past Wuxi Taihu Lake, Nanjing Jinling, Changzhou Tianmu Lake, Nantong Giants, Taizhou Santai and Zhangjiagang, some of these Jiangsu beers have disappeared, and some are still emerging through joint ventures.

Jiangsu beer brands 2


Zhejiang has insufficient liquor resources, but it is a major beer province in my country, and beer production has always been among the best. However, behind the prosperity of the beer industry is the decline of local brands. In the last century, every city in Zhejiang had breweries. The most well-known ones are West Lake, Qiandao Lake, Yandang Mountain, Qianjiang Zhonghua, Zizhulin, Shuanglu, Daliang Mountain and so on. Today’s Zhejiang beer territory is already divided among domestic beer giants.

Zhejiang beer brands 2

An Hui

Each province has its own geographic label. The same is true for Anhui Beer. Welcome Pine, Guquan, and Tianzhu all have strong geographic label characteristics. In addition, the Lianquan beer that the old Hefei people never forget, as well as Bengbu beer, Longjin beer, Shengquan beer, and Tianjing beer, are now on the path of brand decline.

Anhui beer brands 2


Once, the beer brands in Jiangxi have more or less regional labels: Lushan beer, Jiujiang beer, Yichun beer, Jinggangshan beer, Duchang beer, Ji’an beer, Ganzhou beer. Not only that, some Jiangxi beer brands also love to associate with springs: Beiquan, Ganquan, Sandiequan. Today, these brands can survive and have influence, and only Nanchang Beer.

Jiangxi beer brands 2

Fu Jian

Fujian’s beer brands should not be underestimated-Xuejin and Huiquan are both well-known domestic brands. It’s just that there was no Yanjing in front of Huiquan at that time; Xuejin at that time did not belong to Anheuser-Busch InBev. In addition, the local Xinghua Beer is also a well-known brand. The friends in Fujian are very pleased that the local brands have never been lost. As to whether the ownership and taste change, it seems that it no longer matters.

Fujian beer brands 2

Northwest China-Shanxi

Baoji Beer is the earliest local beer in Shaanxi. So far it is still the main brand in the Shaanxi beer market. In addition, there are Hans Beer, Hanzhong Beer, Sanqiang Beer, and brands with cultural heritage like Taishi and Qinli. It is a pity that most of these brands have lost their geographical advantages, and few people know about them now.

Shanxi beer brands 2

Gan Su

Speaking of beer, the first thing that came to mind in Gansu people must be the local Yellow River beer. Imagine enjoying the coolness by the Yellow River, drinking a refreshing Yellow River beer, bold, free and easy, and comfortable in life. In addition to Yellow River beer, there are Xiliang beer from Wuwei, Western beer from Jiuquan, and Wuquan beer from Lanzhou (formerly known as Lanzhou beer). Have you heard of these?

Gansu beer brands 2


The Yanming brand beer produced by Bright Brewery is now a memory. The most distinctive feature of Qinghai beer now is that it is brewed with barley. This “exclusive taste originating from 3,500 meters above sea level” now occupies an important market position in Qinghai. Although Qinghai Lake Beer is now a brand of Yellow River Beer in Gansu, the wine is a local terroir. This is what it has done with barley raw materials.

Qinghai beer brands 2


Compared with the booming brewery establishments across the country in the early days, Ningxia Real Estate Beer is far from lively. Xixia Beer, which was born in the 1970s, can be regarded as a standout in Ningxia. Today, Xixia Beer has been acquired by Carlsberg. Fortunately, the brand name has been retained.

Ningxia beer brands 2


In the beer industry, there is a brand that claims to be a fighter in beer, and it is the “Death Usu”. If you haven’t heard of Wusu beer, it means you don’t really love beer powder. It is said that ordinary people feel dizzy after drinking a glass; and people who can smoothly eliminate more than a dozen bottles of other beer without changing their appearance will be unconscious in front of the fatal Wusu at most three bottles. Many friends who call themselves drunkards say that they dare not touch this wine for fear of getting drunk. Such a great wine, it seems that there is nothing it can’t handle. Would you like to try it?

Xinjiang beer brands 2

Southwest China-Sichuan

Sichuan is a major liquor-producing province, but it is also lonely in beer: once Chengdu Luye, Shuanggui Beer, and “Blue Sword 528” with the homophonic “I will be rich”, they carry the youthful memories of many locals. Among them, Blue Sword Beer, known as the “Southwest King” that is popular in the southwest and the top spot in Sichuan Beer, was defeated in the face of a powerful capital offensive and ended sadly.

Sichuang beer brands 2


I heard that Moutai is not beer and there is no foam? ! That’s because you didn’t know there is Moutai beer! The Moutai beer produced by the Moutai Group is also majestic in the beer industry by virtue of the name “Moutai”. Of course, as the hometown of the famous Huangguoshu Waterfall, “Waterfall” beer sounds as cool as a waterfall.

Guizhou beer brands 2


Kunming Brewery, the first brewery in Yunnan, uses “Bailongtan” as a registered trademark and started the development of Yunnan’s own brand beer. In the 1980s, Dali Brewery, Qujing Brewery, Lijiang Brewery, and Simao Brewery were completed one after another. But so far, only Dali and Lancangjiang have survived.

Yunnan beer brands 2


When you come to Tibet, you must drink the special Lhasa beer, the unique highland barley beer, which is sweet and powerful. This kind of beer brewed with glacier snow water, you must also want to have a taste ?

Tibet beer brands 2

South China-Guangdong

In the late 1990s, Guangdong had four major beer brands: Vigor, Blue Ribbon (predecessor: Zhaoqing Beer), Jinwei, and Zhujiang. Most of these four major breweries were established in the 1980s and were once famous in Guangdong. Among them, Zhujiang Beer is also a special wine for the Diaoyutai state banquet, which is well-known at home and abroad. In addition, there are Snow Fort, Dele, Haizhu and so on. Unfortunately, in Guangdong, a major beer-consuming province, these brands now have to give way to the giants.

Guangdong beer brands 2


Guilin Beer, Liquan Beer, Wanli Beer, Yufeng Beer, these are fond memories of the people of Guangxi. Today, Liquan is still there, but with the prefix “Yanjing” in front, and the Wanli and Yufeng beer well known to the people of Guangxi, few people still remember it.

Guangxi beer brands 2


Most of Hainan’s beer is overseas brands. Lijia Beer, which many old Hainanese never forget, is actually not a local brand, but a sister brand of Singapore Tiger Beer. Lijia launched in Hainan in 1994. In fact, Haikou used to have its own beer brand. The wine labels from the 1980s in the picture can give us a glimpse.

Hainan beer brands 2


The end

The compilation of this article took four days. In the process of preparing and editing this article, the little drink boy felt a lot: In 1988, there were more than 800 beer manufacturers in China. You know, the total number of cities in China is less than 700, which means that in the 1980s at least every city had a brewery.

Compared with the advantage that a brand of Chinese liquor can be eaten all over the country, cheap beer must not only control the transportation cost, but also pay attention to the shelf life. There is no way to “walk it casually.” Therefore, in the arena of beer, it is not easy to be a prince, and you have to face the strong offensive of industry giants from time to time.

In the face of the market economy, these beer brands that once dominated the market, except for a few large breweries that have become the leaders, most of them have been defeated in the face of capital bombing. As a result, we began to witness the continual collapse of local beer brands-Blue Sword in Sichuan, Baisha in Hunan, Xingyin Pavilion in Wuhan, and Zhonghua in Zhejiang all ended sadly.

These dying brands, as well as the memories of that era: recycled glass bottles, and even tin covers that can be used as game props, together with our youth, are gradually disappearing in the adult world. In today’s unified beer arena, we Saw it……

Dear friends, do you remember these beers?

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