Great Leap Brew­ing closed the doors at their San­l­i­tun lo­ca­tion, but win­dows open as there is much more in store for this Bei­jing in­sti­tu­tion

Global Times – Metro Beijing - - FRONT PAGE - By Zhang Xinyuan

Founded in 2010 by Amer­i­can ex­pat Carl Set­zer and his wife Liu Fang, Great Leap Brew­ing (GLB) is a sta­ple bar and brew­ery for the Bei­jing ex­pat com-

mu­nity and young lo­cal food­ies.

How­ever, GLB has to say good­bye to one of its most pop­u­lar lo­ca­tions – #12 Flag­ship Brew­pub (GLB #12) in San­l­i­tun, an area fa­mous for its ex­pat pop­u­la­tion and hip restau­rants and bars.

“The land­lord at Zim­ing Man­sion, where we have been lo­cated for the last five years, is adamant that there will no longer be ten­ants us­ing this prop­erty for any food and bev­er­age ser­vices,” Set­zer said. “Over the past cou­ple of years, we have seen Bei­jing change its at­ti­tude to­ward the food and bev­er­age in­dus­try, and that has reached Great Leap Brew­ing as well.”

May 10 was GLB #12’s last day, and many pa­trons specif­i­cally came to the restau­rant to say their goodbyes and com­mem­o­rate all the good times they have had in­side the walls of this Bei­jing in­sti­tu­tion.

A mem­o­rable place

Since GLB re­leased the news of their clos­ing on May 9, many of GLB’s reg­u­lars rushed to the pub to bid farewell and make some fi­nal mem­o­ries.

“Start­ing from May 8, we had three to four times the av­er­age num­ber of cus­tomers. In the three days be­fore we closed, we re­ceived 1,500 to 2,000 cus­tomers ev­ery day,” said Tina, a man­ager at GLB #12.

“It’s a sad demise of a re­ally good restau­rant and bar in Bei­jing,” said Qiao Di (pseu­do­nym) from the UK. He and his friends came to GLB #12 as soon as they could af­ter hear­ing the news. They met up at the bar at 3 pm and did not leave un­til 8 pm.

“The beer here is re­ally good. I am from Eng­land, so good beer is im­por­tant to me, and their burger is prob­a­bly one of the best burg­ers in town,” Qiao said.

Re­cently, many pop­u­lar restau­rants and bars have been closed down in the hu­tong; it’s con­fus­ing, he said.

Jonathan from South Africa and Karen from the UK also brought

their three teenage chil­dren for one last hoorah.

“It’s one of the few places in Bei­jing where both adults and chil­dren can have a good time. The at­mos­phere here is homey and re­lax­ing,” said Karen.

The kids can en­joy their cheese­burg­ers and play on the pa­tio while the adults have a beer on the ter­race, she said.

Peng Peng and Zhang Meng from Bei­jing have been com­ing to GLB #12 al­most once a week since its open­ing in 2013.

“When we want to have a good burger or have a beer, we just come here; it’s very dif­fi­cult for us to see that it is be­ing closed,” Peng said.

Set­zer said since they an­nounced the news, they re­ceived over 100 en­cour­ag­ing mes­sages from fans and sup­port­ers. “It’s very emo­tional for me.”

Brand his­tory

Set­zer, from the US, first came to China in 2004 and has been fasci- nated by this coun­try ever since.

Af­ter work­ing in the IT in­dus­try for sev­eral years, Set­zer and his wife Liu founded GLB in Oc­to­ber 2010. GLB be­came one of the first mod­ern craft brew­eries in China.

The first Great Leap pub was Great Leap Orig­i­nal #6 in Dou­jiao Hu­tong. Then, in June 2013, GLB #12 was opened, and it was the first GLB lo­ca­tion to in­clude a full-ser­vice kitchen. GLB #12 is also home to the ma­jor­ity of GLB’s brew­ing ca­pac­ity.

“GLB #12 is the most pop­u­lar lo­ca­tion of our three lo­ca­tions. The store gen­er­ally re­ceives 500 guests ev­ery day,” said Tina, a man­ager at GLB.

Fu­ture plans

“One end­ing means many new be­gin­nings,” Set­zer said.

GLB #6 and GLB #45 will con­tinue op­er­at­ing as al­ways.

On top of that, GLB will be open­ing up a new tap­room restau­rant in Lido in early au­tumn.

“We are ex­tremely ex­cited to pro­vide the cus­tomers with an­other great bar and restau­rant at which they can en­joy our beer and food,” Set­zer said.

The GLB #12 lo­ca­tion will be con­verted into a dual pur­pose cold stor­age dis­tri­bu­tion cen­ter and an in­no­va­tive and pro­gres­sive of­fice for GLB.

Be­sides, GLB is open­ing up a new pro­duc­tion fa­cil­ity in Tian­jin in or­der to lower the price of the beer and ex­pand its pro­duc­tion line.

“That means that while GLB #12 is clos­ing, you will be able to en­joy our beer at more lo­ca­tions around Bei­jing and other ci­ties,” Set­zer said.

“While it is cer­tainly a sad day, it is also one filled with pos­i­tives as well. This is one step back and two steps for­ward. We are ex­cited to see what the fu­ture holds for us at GLB,” Set­zer said.

Photo: Cui Meng/GT

For­eign and Chi­nese fans of Great Leap Brew­ing come to GLB #12 the night be­fore it closes.

Pho­tos: Cui Meng/GT

Main: Guests spilling out onto the pa­tio en­joy­ing their beers and burg­ers Insets: GLB fans tak­ing a selfie at the restau­rant Be­cause of the crowd, guests squat by the side of road to en­joy their GLB burg­ers and fries. A group of friends come to GLB and...

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