The History of Harbin Beer

Harbin Brewery is one of the earliest beer manufacturers and beer brands in China, making it popular throughout the country. It is also one of the most successful domestic beer brands in the country. This company manufactures different Harbin beers, which are sold nationwide except Tibet. This beer is also exported to over 30 countries and regions, including the United States, the United Kingdom, Japan, Singapore, Russia, South Korea, and more. It always has a pure and refreshing taste, making it preferable for a lot of people.

The beers offered by Harbin Brewery include ice, wheat king, Weissbier, draft, and other series, and most of them taste cool and icy. Among these, the wheat king series is the most popular because it has a higher alcohol content, which is 10%, compared to other beer their offer. This way, you’ll be able to taste a strong flavor of malt when you drink it.

If you’ve tried Harbin beer before and you liked it, have you ever wondered how this beer started? If you’re curious, then you’re in the right place. Today, we are going to share with you the history of Harbin beer.


a sculpture of Harbin beer
The history of Harbin beer dates back to 1900 when the Harbin Brewery was founded by Jan Wroblewski from Tarczyn in Prussian Poland. The brewery was built in Northeast China. It was then called Manchuria, which he named after himself. The initial idea of putting up the brewery was to give fuel to the thirsty Russians who were building the Trans-Siberian Railway, which construction began in 1898.

In 1908, the brewery was renamed to Gloria for some reason, before it gained the name Harbin Brewery Factory in 1932. Harbin Brewery Factory is a joint venture between the Chinese and Czechoslovakian nationals.

In 1946, the Soviet nationals took control of Harbin Brewery Factory after the Soviet Red Army captured Manchuria. The Soviet nationals then named it Quilin Stock Company Limited. This situation continued until 1950 when Stalin ordered the return of Chinese assets. After this, the ownership was returned to the Chinese Government.

In 1950, when the company was returned to Red China, they continued innovating it. They renamed the company to Harbin Brewery and operated it as a state-owned entity. In 1959, motivated by the famine, Harbin Brewery became the first to brew beer with corn instead of rice. Through the 1960s, the brewery focused on investing in improving its technology.

In 1973, Harbin Brewery installed its first sterilization machine located in Heilongjiang Province, which is northeast of china. Today, the capital and largest city of this province is Harbin.

SABMiller was able to get a 29.6% equity stake in Harbin Brewery in June 2003. In 2004, after a bitter takeover battle with SABMiller, Anheuser-Busch was able to take over the company.

The Popularity of Harbin Beer

a sculpture of Harbin beer
The annual beer production capacity of Harbin has increased to more than 1 million tons. Harbin beer, after its successful reform and listing on the Hong Kong stock market, it has become a giant in China’s beer industry.

Today, Harbin Brewery is owned by Anheuser-Busch InBev, which is a multinational drink and brewing company based in Leuven, London. It also has a global functional management office in New York City, and as well as regional headquarters in London, Sao Paul, St, Louis, Mexico City, and more. This company was able to help Harbin beer to be exported to European and North American markets. However, when compared to other popular beers in China, such as Zhujiang Beer and Tsingtao Beer, the share of Harbin Beer in these markets is insignificant.

In the North American market, Harbin Beer first became available in ethnic Chinese supermarkets, which is still its primary point of sales until today. Then, it gradually expanded to other Asian supermarkets, including supermarkets like Market World, Freshia, and ethnic Korean supermarkets. Some of the different beers offered by Harbin brewery are Hapi, Golden Hapi, Harbin Heart, and Harbin Premium Lager. One of their beers is a wheat beer.

Harbin has also won over the elusive audience of males aged 18 to 29 through their collaborations and sponsorships with China’s eSports teams. They have sponsored eSports events, teams, and in 2017, they sponsored five Chinese teams, which created the Harbin Beer eSports Legion.

Harbin is indeed a top beer in the heartlands of Dongbei or the Northeastern part of China. In fact, a trip on the North Korean Borderlands might involve at least one or two cans of Harbin beer. We hope the information we shared was able to give you more knowledge about Harbin beer’s history.