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Ganbei! Oktoberfest is big business in China

(CNTV)    14:47, October 02, 2017

Known primarily for its strong beer, the world’s biggest folk festival - Oktoberfest - wraps up in Munich on Tuesday. But Chinese fans of boozy Bavarian bashes don’t need to worry because Oktoberfest-style events also take place across China every year.

Some 7,000 kilometers away from Germany, Oktoberfest has plenty of fans and German brewery Paulaner has been cracking open barrels in the Chinese market for 25 years.

The Paulaner Brauhaus in Beijing can be credited with starting the popularization of German drinking culture in China after opening in 1992.

It now has more than a dozen pubs around China, brewing on site and hosting an annual Oktoberfest.

A raft of similiar places has followed, in Beijing and in most first- and second-tier cities.

Oktoberfest biscuits at the Paulaner Brauhaus in Beijing /Kempinski hotel

Rather than beginning in September like the real deal, many of the Chinese events take place solely in October, timed both to avoid clashing with National Day holidays and to cater to super fans.

Paulaner’s Beijing outpost reports that it has particularly devoted partygoers who celebrate the event in Germany before hot-footing it back to China to get in on the party here.

In Beijing, Oktoberfest runs from October 12 to 29 on a terrace set to welcome 500 people on the biggest nights. There's a German band, games, wait-staff in traditional dress – and of course, plenty of beer.

Another German brewery with pubs in China is Drei Kronen. It signed a contract for its flagship bar in Beijing in 2007, and now has branches in Shanghai, Tianjin and Changchun. According to Drei Kronen director Hans Gerner, German brewmasters oversee the brewing on-site to ensure authenticity.

For Gerner, the global appeal of Oktoberfest is simple. "It’s fun and you can forget all the daily matters around you for a few hours," he says. "Enjoy yourself, drink beer and dive into another world."

The Germans had a head-start when it came to promoting their beer in China. In the early 1900s, German settlers began installing breweries in China and introducing the locals to an exotic liquid called beer.

Tsingtao, today one of the country's best-known Chinese brands, was founded by Germans about 600 kilometers along the coast from Beijing in Qingdao, eastern Shandong Province.

The Chinese microbrewery that launched as “Oktoberfest” keeps a beer on top of the same name. / Master Gao Brewing Co.‍

Such was the appeal of Bavarian brews that one of China’s first microbreweries called itself "Oktoberfest" when it first opened. The company now known as the Master Gao Brewing Co. in Nanjing ran an Oktoberfest in 2008, and still keeps a beer on tap named Oktoberfest.

Of course, you don’t need to have a German identity to get in on the act.

Americans are at the helm of numerous US-style microbreweries and bars in China. From Boxing Cat in Shanghai to Slow Boat and Great Leap in Beijing, these places are awash with weissbier and bratwurst at this time of year.

For its Oktoberfest party on September 23, Great Leap brewed a special German-style lager with Sichuan peppercorns and local date honey.

Cheers to a true marriage of Germany and China! 

(For the latest China news, Please follow People's Daily on Twitter and Facebook)(Web editor: Jiang Jie, Bianji)

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