Eastern Promises: Shochu and baijiu are entering the Minnesota market—getting them right in a cocktail takes a delicate touch

The bottle in question was some type of clear spirit, purchased on a business trip to China, secondhand gifted to me. Its only English lettering was the word “Taiwan” and a three-digit number that I figured to be the spirit’s proof. It smelled like an auto mechanic’s shop on a humid July afternoon—stuffy like hot … [ Read more]

Leaves of Change: Verdant Tea champions China’s unheralded family farms by going straight to the source

The future of tea is a new generation—one of thoughtful drinkers who have developed their palates by selecting pour-overs from lists describing coffee beans’ origins and consuming spirits in the same building in which they were distilled. Developing that same relationship between tea farmer and tea drinker is where Verdant Tea has staked its mission, … [ Read more]

An old-school brewing kit and its 5,000 year old beer recipe

A 5,000-year-old brewery has been unearthed in China, reports NPR. Archaeologists uncovered ancient “beer-making tool kits” in underground rooms built between 3400 and 2900 B.C. at a dig site in the Central Plain of China. The kits included funnels, pots, and specialized jugs. The shapes of the objects suggest they could be used for brewing, … [ Read more]

Explore a new side of China on an 8-day craft beer tour

The popularity of craft beer is a world-wide trend, including in China, where microbreweries are popping up all over the country. Capitalizing on this, and China’s plethora of historical sites, China Special Tours (CST) is launching a new tour this fall that pairs ancient sites and with craft beer sampling. Starting in Beijing on September 24 … [ Read more]

Chinese wine region to institute Bordeaux-like hierarchy

Officials in the north central Chinese region of Ningxia have announced plans for a five-tiered hierarchy of quality designations among their wineries, much like the one that ranks the chateaux in Bordeaux, France. Ningxia wine has shown incredible potential as of late, even besting wines from Bordeaux in blind tasting competitions. Ningxia hopes that the … [ Read more]

Bottled Canadian air is all the rage in China

What started as a joke—selling packages of air snagged in Banff National Park—has become a trend, reports Public Radio International. Edmonton, Canada-based Vitality Air first put a sealed plastic baggie of air from the Canadian Rockies online to see if it would sell a little over six months ago. When someone actually bought it, they started … [ Read more]

IPA craze hits China after Xi has pint with Cameron

Two politicians walk into a bar. Suddenly, the world’s largest nation is clamoring for India pale ale. That’s the story from an official state visit by Chinese President Xi Jinping to England, where he ate fish and chips and drank a pint of Greene King IPA with Prime Minister David Cameron. President Xi enjoys a cult … [ Read more]

The Wide World of Beer with Stephen Beaumont: A Slow Boat and a Great Leap to Beijing

You’ve got to be at least a little bit nuts to travel to Beijing for beer. Because even though China leads the world by leaps and bounds in terms of beer production, brewing over half a billion hectoliters annually, per capita consumption is low—not much above 32 liters per year—and the impact of craft-styled beer … [ Read more]

Huge Volume, Tiny Margins in the Chinese Beer Market

The Wall Street Journal is reporting on the vexing beer market in China: five large conglomerates, including SABMiller and A-B InBev, all fighting for a share of a full 25% of global beer volume. Yet this intense competition is shrinking their margins. Thus China accounts for only 10% of global beer revenues and just 3% … [ Read more]