Claws of Canada
Gao Yan, 46, never expected his love of craft beer to make him a pioneering brewer in a fast-growing market in China. “The charm of craft beer is that as it is very tasty, and you can change its flavor and you wish to fulfill your desire of creation the give you a sense of achievement,” says Gao, founder of Nanjing Craft Brewing Co. He now has more than 20 categories of beer under his Master Gao brand. Each features typical Chinese elements in tastes and packaging. 100 The current annual output is nearly that tons, which is equal to about 1 percent of of a small beer factory, he says. When he first started to make his own beer at home, he used some Chinese ingredients, such as ginger and dates, to do simple trials.
beers Later, he developed more complicated with jasmine and Tibetan barley. Last year, he developed Baby IPA and cooperated with a beer factory to produce bottled craft beer. It’sIt as sweet as oranges with a fine white
illustrated foamfoa as smooth as the skin of a baby. The trat label on the bottle sports a chubby is a infantinfa holding a big carp in his arms, which commoncom image for the Lunar New Year. GaoG plans to make a documentary next year, to record his adventures as he tours several ChineseChC cities to develop craft beers using locallococ ingredients. “Some“imported beers have intense flavors, butbu my beers are specially brewed for Chinese, withwiw balanced and mild flavors,” he says. His beers are sold both online and in stores via distributors all over the country. While ordinary beers are one-dimensional
says, andhavean no outstanding characteristics, he craftcrcr beers are diversified in flavors and cultures. “Homebrewed beers are like homemade casualca meals, and small factories are doing
dishes,” professionalpr cooking, delivering the best es he says.
an Gao’s beer-drinking buddy Yang Ping, 25, officeof worker from Beijing, says: “Gao brews
He craftcr beer because he is really fond of it.
gets wantsw more people to share the drinks. He circles, ono very well with others in the craft-beer c too.” The Master Gao crew is a fixture at craftbeer b festivals around the country. Gao’s love of beer goes back to the early 1990s,1 when he was working in the United and States.S He drank craft beer for the first time
first fellf in love with it instantly. He recalls the
slow to them. Even in Beijing, the market was
after to grow out of the expat community Great Leap Brewing opened in a sleepy hutong in 2010. Today, mugs foaming with housemade beer are being raised all over the capital, including a newer, bigger and always-packed Great Leap pub in Dongcheng district. Gao has grown with the Chinese craft-beer revolution, too. He says more than 200,000 to beer-lovers — from painters to musicians He reporters — have quaffed his various brews. has sold 160 tons of Baby IPA alone, he adds.
for According to him, craft beers account less than 1 percent in the Chinese beer market, to and many are imported. China only started
years import craft beers about seven or eight of ago, but he is confident about the potential the Chinese market. “The good news is that our factory is starting to make a profit this year. The development
is of craft beer in the whole country going well,” he says.
In 2011, he published the book Get Your Own Brew, the first how-to book in Chinese about he home-brewing with manywell-tested recipes, claims. One canbrew beers at home, with proper water, malt, hops and yeast — and equipment such as a grinding machine and a fermenter. He says home brewing took off around the same year, noting that about 10,000 Chinese have made their own beers. Besides big cities, nearly every second-tier city has an association or club for local craft-beer fans. Quoting a report from Euromonitor International Ltd, a London-based market intelligence firm, he says the number of imported craft beers increased by about 50 to 70 percent are in 2012 in China, and small beer houses blooming across the country. A lot of them know Master Gao.
sip as magical — like a fresh spray in the mouth. He got a home-brewing kit from a friend who was moving to a new house, and he began to explore the possibilities. He says it’s not difficult for him to make delicious
skill beer, and attributes his mindset and a to his studies in the US, where he earned Master of Science in chemistry. “The secret is to drink more, learn more and share more,” he says. In 2007, he returned to his hometown, Nanjing,
craft and was disappointed to find no beer on sale in the city. He set up his own factory a year later. “I can survive without beer. But where there is beer, there is hope,” he jokes. However, it was a challenge at first to educate no customers. China’s beer drinkers had idea what craft beer is, and buying a domestic beer at import prices didn’t make much sense Contact the writer at xulin@ chinadaily.com.cn
Mike Peters contributed to this story. Lobster lovers have a feast in store through the end of January, as the Cantonese restaurant group Tang Palace hosts its monthlong lobster festival. All 58 of the chain’s seafood eateries across the country are serving winter-season Canadian lobsters for 98 yuan ($16) per 500 grams, which is about one-third of the regular price. On Friday, the Tang Palace at Full Link Plaza in Beijing will hold a lucky draw. All diners that evening will get a prepaid expense card for the restaurant or other gift, and the luckiest will get free roundtrip flight tickets to Canada.