Tsing Tao Beer
#1 Brewery

in the city of Qingdao , Shandong Province, China

The city of Qingdao was at first just a quiet fishing village on theYellow Sea. After two German Missionaries were killed by members of the Boxer Movement (the secret society of the Righteous and Harmonious Fists), that all changed. Kaiser Wilhelm (1859-1941) demanded a consession to keep the world safe from the "yellow peril" and in 1897 was ceded Jiazhou peninsula, including the small city of Qingdao. It was not by accident that the Germans acquired this port town. Baron von Richthofen (the Red Baron) had scouted the area and reported that it made the perfect site for a deepsea naval base, being a port on the Yellow Sea at the entrance to sheltered Jiaozhou Bay.The Germans were also given the rights to build the Shandong rail lines including the one from Jinan (capitol of Shandong Province) to Qingdao. The agreement granted these rights and territories for 99 years. The Germans quickly got to work building the naval base, other military sites like the post on Signal Hill, a Protestant Church, and numerous official buildings and Residences.

The Protestant Church is in the foreground LEFT, the Catholic Chuch is in the far RIGHT background

Most of the German houses were built in the German Concession and still conspicuous today are numerous examples of Germanic and European achitecture including the former sites of the German High Officials' Residence, the German Qingdao Governor's Residence, and the German Qingdao Police Station.

The first brewery in China was built here by the Germans in 1903.

The name was taken from the old romanization for Qingdao, Tsing Tao.

The beer here is brewed with natural spring water from Laoshan, rice and hops from China and barley imported from Canada and Australia. Currently there are about 1,300 full-time workers at the #1 plant.

We had a chance to see the #1 Bottling Plant and sample some Tsing Tao dark beer that is not available in the US.


The Germans didn't actually control Qingdao for long. Late in 1914, the Japanese attacked and finally took the city on November 7. They were formally ceded the territory in 1919 by the Treaty of Versailles. The city was returned to the Chinese in 1922. It was taken again by the Japanese in 1938 and occupied until 1945. From 1945 to 1949 it was occupied by US troops and was the site of an important US naval base. In 1949 Qingdao was again returned to Chinese rule. It eventualy became a leading economic area. The city now boasts a major naval base, growing industry including major manufacturers of textiles, railroad equipment, rubber goods, fertilizer, and chemicals. There is also a Naval Museum, Marine Science and Technology Hall and Shandong Oceanography University. The brewery began exporting Tsing Tao Beer to the US in 1978. Signal Hill became Xinhaoshan Park in 1986 with the construction of three mushroom-like structures. Inside one is a revolving platform allowing for 360° viewing of the city. The sight-seeing towers with their red domed tops are visible from nearly everywhere in the city and were built to resemble torches.

In 1998, Qingdao hosted its first International Wushu Championships. We were honored to be one of the International teams present. We again were pleased to be able to return in 2000 for the Third China Qingdao International Wushu Championship, in 2002 for the Fourth, in 2004 for the Fifth, and in 2006 for the Sixth International Traditional Chinese Martial Arts Tournament. We would like to thank The City for its hospitality, with special thanks to the Governor, the Mayor, the Tourism Bureau and Zhang Wei Fu and his Qingdao International Traditional Chinese Martial Arts Tournament Organizing Committee. We look forward to attending again in the year 2009.

Back to China Trip 2004
On to China 2006

P.S. China has changed a lot since we first began going in 1998. The brewery and its tour have evolved greatly as well. Each time it has altered and expanded. For more recent pictures of Tsing Tao #1 Brewery click HERE.