Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Chinese Beer Bags

Yes, you read that correctly.  In China, you can get fresh beer - in a plastic shopping bag from a street vendor!
He must be thirsty.
(Photo Courtesy of http://www.charchaa.com/only_in_china_beer_in_a_bag_pic)
A co-worker recently shared this information with me (thanks, Ben!).  He said that he actually witnessed this when he was in Qingdao, China on business.  When Ben asked his translator, "what's with the bags?", I don't think he was prepared for the answer.  Apparently, brewery workers are partially paid with beer, and they take their kegs to the streets.  People like it because of how fresh it is, so it is customary to see people walking the streets with their bags of beer.

I'll take a bag to go, please!
(Photo Courtesy of http://www.travelpod.com/travel-blog-entries/kyewix/2/1260735639/tpod.html)
Qinqdao is home to China's "largest and most prestigious" brewery, Tsingtao, which was founded by German settlers in 1903.  (I think there's a German phrase that goes something like, "Beer. Never leave home without it.")  Not only is it China's largest brewery, Tsingtao Lager is China's #1 consumer product exported from China.  (I think the exported beer is bottled though.)

Tsingdao Brewery
(Photo Courtesy of http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/d/de/Tsingdao_Brewery.jpg)

So what do you do with beer in a bag?  I suppose you could take it home and transfer it to a mug, but that just doesn't seem like a whole lot of fun.  I mean, we're talking beer in a bag here.  I did a little bit of digging around on the Internet, and it appears that most people choose to consume their beer on the spot with a straw.

How do you drink beer from a bag?  One sip at a time.
(Photo Courtesy of http://www.travelpod.com/travel-blog-entries/brabzzz/2/1274923893/tpod.html)
While you may never find another place on earth that sells beer in a bag on the street, you don't have to travel all the way to Qingdao, China just to try their lager (#1 consumer product export, remember?).  I have not yet had the privilege, but the next time I see Tsingtao Beer somewhere, I think I'll have to try a bag glass.  Prost!
(Photo Courtesy of http://www.life.com/image/71715931)