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Different style's of Chinese alcoholic drinks

Updated on June 19, 2013

China is known more for it's production of Tea than for it's many different alcoholic drinks within it's national border's. The consumption of alcoholic drinks has been part of China's history for thousands of years and over the years different region's have produced their own style of drink. The export of Chinese style drinks has never really been championed by those from outside China, and any drink's exported to the outside world are generally consumed by Chinese people in foreign countries. China has a wide variety of Beer's, Wine's and Spirit's and the following article shall highlight some of the less well known Chinese brands and beverage's.

Domestically produced Chinese Lager.
Domestically produced Chinese Lager. | Source

Have you ever tried a Chinese Beer?

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Chinese Beer

China has a thriving drinks industry and if you have ever been to an authentic Chinese restaurant you will be surprised by the standard of the lager they have on offer. The most well known Chinese lager in the United Kingdom is possibly the Lucky brand lager, it is a decent and palatable beer which appeals to the Western taste.

The reason the drink is well known is because it was stocked by the largest pub chain in the United Kingdom JD Wetherspoon's. The lager was often found on their Beer's of the World drink's promotions. The marketers of the Lucky brand made good use of the bottle to raise the appeal, the bottle is a green Buddha shaped design and is very popular with drinkers for it's curiosity value.

China's most popular domestic beer is Tsingtao and is brewed with domestically grown Hop's and Barley. It has been voted the best Chinese Beer for over a decade and is exported all over the world. Tsingtao is brewed in the City of Quindao, and continue's in the brewing tradition of the last 120 years.

China had started brewing about the same time as the culture's of Egypt and Mesopotamia, the production of Beer was for religious burial rights rather than social drinking. The consumption of Beer fell out of favour for over Two thousand years upon the change of ruling dynasty. It was the attempted division of China by the Imperialist European powers which reintroduced the beverage and it's recipes. The Chinese usually prefer a light Beer, but in recent years Stout and Pale Ale's have entered the domestic market.

What better place to enjoy a Chinese drink, than near the Chinese beach front.
What better place to enjoy a Chinese drink, than near the Chinese beach front. | Source

Chinese Grape Wine

Chinese wine has existed for nearly 5,000 years and is varied in it's ingredient's and flavour. The Chinese have produced and consumed wine's made with the more traditional grape alongside Rice, Honey and other Fruit wines. Traditionally Rice wine has been favoured by all member's of Chinese society, it was the French who made great in roads with their exported Red and White wine's in the 1980's. The domestic Grape wine industry was set up after the French import's began, but the local market only consumed a Tenth of the domestic production.

The turning point was after 2000 when the Chinese economy boomed, this led to an increase in the money available to spend on luxury leisure items. The Chinese realised the potential for the domestic production of Grape wine and using the French model numerous Vineyard's were updated for the Global and domestic markets. Interestingly White wine is enjoyed more by Woman than men, and Red wine is seen as a more elite drink than White. The standard of the domestically produced wine is improving year on year, and the Chinese Wine could fill a niche in the global wine market.

The Chinese domestic wine market is facing problem's exporting their wine into Europe due to the tariff's that are imposed on the import of wine. Because of the European Union policies there has been a negative effect on the Three major domestic wine companies Dynasty , Great Wall and Changyu . Currently more Chinese is exported to the New World where there is a healthy demand for the new style of Chinese wine's and a beverage that is different is not sneered at.

Chinese Spirit's

Chinese liquor's and spirit's really capture the style and culture of their homeland, the Chinese have been fermenting alcohol for thousand's of year's and each region has their own particular favourite. The following is a selection of the more popular or favourite spirits...

  1. Maotai - The spirit is produced in Guizhou province, and is fermented from Chinese Sorghum grain. The drink's alcoholic percentage is between 35-53% and the flavour has a light Soy taste.
  2. Fen liqour - Produced in the Apricot Blossom Village in Shanxi Province, Fen liquorhas a history that goes back more than 1,500 years. It is traditionally made from fine barley and peas, it is fragrant and delicate with a lingering after-taste. In Chinese medicine it is also used to treat various diseases and minor ailments. The liquor does not settle or get muddy in storage, the longer it is preserved, the better it will taste.

  3. Dukang - Dukang spirit bears the same name of its production site Dukang village in Hennan Province. The spirit has been popular among the Chinese people for more than 2,500 years. The drink is used in Chinese medicine in relieving your anxiety.
  4. Shaoxing spirit -also called Huang Jiu (yellow wine), it is produced in the Zhejiang Province. It is one of the best and mildest intoxicants made from glutonous rice and wheat. It has been known for its flavor and golden colour.
  5. Bamboo-leaf green liquor - It is made by immersing bamboo leaves and dozens of medicinal herbs, such as Chinese angelica and cap jasmine in Fen Liquor. The wine is pale green, translucent and fragrant. It has a reputation for improving health and treating such diseases as heart trouble, high blood pressure and arthritis.


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    • Asp52 profile imageAUTHOR

      Andrew Stewart 

      5 years ago from England

      They had it on a World Beer promotion last year, it was a nice summer drink. I prefer the Thai Tiger Beer over the Chinese Beer's I have tried, but there is a few thousand more to try!!!!- Thank's for reading and commenting Gordon.

    • Gordon Hamilton profile image

      Gordon Hamilton 

      5 years ago from Wishaw, Lanarkshire, United Kingdom

      I very much enjoy Chinese beer but am so far unfamiliar with their wines and spirits. Funnily enough, I had a bottle of Tsingtao last night with my dinner and the Lucky beer is something I have tried in the past. I didn't know Wetherspoon's stocked Chinese beer (though I've never looked, to be honest). I'll definitely check the next time I'm in. I buy it from my local Morrison's supermarket, where the Tsingtao is currently on special offer. I'll need to look out particularly for Chinese wine and give it a try. Thanks for the info.


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