Revelers raise glasses to beautiful brews at Qingdao beer festival

Last orders were called at the 29th Qingdao International Beer Festival on Sunday in the port city of Qingdao in East China's Shandong province. This year's celebration was brimming with revelry, artistic performances, opportunities for business and cultural exchange, and especially beer, according to the organizers.

The event was held at Golden Beach Beer City, an area located in the west of Qingdao covering more than 800,000 square meters, and boasting the world's largest beer-themed square.

According to the festival's organizers, this year's event, held from July 26 to August 18, attracted a total of 7.2 million visitors from home and abroad. On its peak day, visitor numbers hit 500,000, a record for the festival, which has been held annually since 1991.

"The event is not only a prime stage to showcase the city to the world, but also serves as a platform to share worldwide resources and promote high-quality development," said Wang Lianchun, spokesman for the festival.

More than 600 cultural events and activities were held with participants from more than 20 countries and regions, ranging from art shows, drinking contests, float parades, sports and games, to concerts and online gaming competitions.

More than 1,400 beer brands from across the world were served up across nine exhibition tents.

Not to be left out, Qingdao's own beer brand Tsingtao was freely flowing for parched punters.

This year, Tsingtao, the world's fifth-largest brewer, set up two flagship beer tents, for its Tsingtao 1903 and Augerta ranges. The former took up 3,000 sq m, the largest of all the beer tents, and the latter occupied 1,800 sq m.

"We offered eight different tastes of draft beer all freshly produced from the century-old brewery and transported using cold chain equipment," said Zeng Chao, a Tsingtao executive in charge of the Tsingtao 1903 beer tent. He added that some beer varieties they offered had won international awards.

There were many distinct types of the beer from across the world at other beer tents.

The Er Boqueron tent from Spain served up craft beer brewed using water from the Mediterranean Sea. Its monthlong brewing technique can be traced back to the year 1516.

At the Russell tent for the Canadian brand, their strawberry infused beer proved popular among visitors.

With the beer tents awash with loud music and passionate performances, Phoenix Bar Street featured a more subdued atmosphere for drinkers to down their fair share of craft beer. The street, opened to the public on June 12, is designed to operate all year round and features 32 bars offering a wide range of craft beers.

Organizers said they hoped to highlight the street as a new landmark during the festival.

A bar named Rouge Commune, which combines beer with traditional Chinese cultural elements, is designed to be a "chinoiserie" bar, according to its owner. Chinoiserie is a French word that literally means "China stuff ".

"We have an on-site brewery and visitors can witness the whole process of brewing," said Xu Wei, one of the bar's co-founders.

The bar also features an alley where visitors can experience traditional Chinese culture such as calligraphy, said Xu.

Phoenix Bar Street also features tea houses, bookstores and cigar bars.

The Qingdao International Beer Products Fair was held concurrently with the festival, linking beer producers, dealers and raw materials suppliers.

Dai Zhendong, manager of local beer equipment producer Hade Beer House, said his company secured deals to sell more than 300 sets of brewing equipment with a total value of 400 million yuan ($57 million) during the 24-day event.

The beer festival also brought opportunities for local catering, hospitality and tourism industries, according to organizers.

Festival spokesman Wang said a number of beer outlets at Golden Beach Beer City are continuing to operate after the conclusion of the festival.

"We hope to build a beer festival that never has a closing time," Wang added.

From left: Visitors and performers from home and abroad enjoy the carnival atmosphere during the 29th Qingdao International Beer Festival.Photos Provided To China Daily    

The 800,000-square-meter Golden Beach Beer City is the main venue of the Qingdao International Beer Festival.Provided To China Daily