Beer is rich with history, going back centuries. From the birthplace of Budweiser in St. Louis, Missouri, to Munich, Germany, home of nearly 700 year-old Spaten, our brands were often among the first to bring beer to their hometowns.
We’re especially proud of the story of Harbin, a brand that this year celebrates 120 years in China, making it the nation’s oldest and most iconic beer brand.
A pioneering spirit that lives on
Originally named after its Polish founder, Jan Wróblewski, in 1900, the brewery was the first to make European style beer in China. In 1932, it was renamed to Harbin, after its hometown. Less than two decades later, Harbin was recognized as “the beer town of China” – a known haunt for beer lovers across the world.
Even more people across the country came to experience Harbin beer after the brand joined AB InBev in 2008. This national expansion led Harbin to become an official sponsor for the 2010 FIFA World Cup South Africa™, making history as the first Chinese brand to sponsor the event. Today Harbin is the eighth most valuable beer brand in the world according to Brand Finance.
To meet increased demand, Harbin opened a new, world-class brewery in 2014, which brews 6.3 million hectoliters every year! Among its most popular beers is the 1900 Treasure Lager, often referred to as the “original taste of China.” Thanks to its classic recipe and refreshing flavor profile, Harbin locals, known as “Harbiners,” make 1900 their go-to choice for celebrations and gatherings – and the recent citywide anniversary celebration was no exception.
“Harbin remains true to its original intention for this city established in 1900, as a maker of high-quality beers and a proud supporter of the people and community where we live and work,” said Matt Che, AB InBev Vice President of Marketing at the event.
Indeed, over its history the brand has stood together with fellow Harbiners throughout history, from providing fresh water following the 2005 Songhua River petrochemical incident, to supporting the medical teams that rushed to serve coronavirus patients in Hubei earlier this year.
Another special aspect of the celebration was the unveiling of a limited-edition brew developed by Harbin, together with Modern, an iconic local maker of ice cream. The rich and creamy ice cream flavored beer offered a modern twist combining two century-old favorites.
Ganbei Harbin – here’s to 120 incredible years and many more to come!