You’ve surely heard of Laurel & Hardy, the famous slapstick comedy duo of early American cinema. But did you know that China had its equivalent with Langen Han & Xiucen Yin? A 1940 hand fan advertisement for Shanghai U.B. Beer from our collection reminds us of their forgotten history.
This marvelous commemorative booklet from our collection was published on the occasion of the 25th anniversary of the celebrated Shanghai Union Brewery. It offers an intriguing testament to Shanghai’s world-famous history of commerce, design, architecture and… tragedy.
For almost 30 years the local Shanghai beer market was dominated by the omnipresent U.B. (友啤) beer brand. Its original creator was the Shanghai Union-Brauerei AG, incorporated 1912 by the German company Schwarzkopf & Co from Tsingtau (now Qingdao). After the Great War in 1918 a previously minor Norwegian shareholder, Mr. Frithjof Hoehnke, took over the business and renamed it to Aktieselskabet Union Bryggeri or Scandinavian Brewery Co. Ltd in English. In 1931 the company was once more...
Our friends at Historic Shanghai are organizing a Historic Beer & Buildings Walk (gulp!) on June 20th: https://www.historic-shanghai.com/events/. So here's an original EWO beer crate to get you in the mood
Commemorative retro-style beer can: The Tsingtao Brewery was founded on August 15, 1903 as the Germania-Brauerei (Germania Brewery) by Bavarian settlers in Qingdao. From 1898 to 1913 the port city of Qingdao in Shandong province was a German colonial concession.
Jardine Matheson aka "EWO" Building completed on the Bund in 1922. As one of the first foreign businesses to set up branches in Shanghai in early 1843 it established The EWO Brewery Ltd. in 1935. Jardine was not only the oldest but also the largest "Hong" or Yanghang (洋行) - foreign owned trading houses concerned with trade with China, which later became huge diversified conglomerates. The name EWO stems from the Cantonese pronunciation of Jardines Chinese "Hong name" 怡和洋行, meaning...
If in the mid 1930s you had asked any old Shanghailander, sailor or random tourist visitor about Shanghai's most prominent beer brand, all three of them would have undoubtedly agreed on U.B. Beer. The German, then later Scandinavian brewery dominated the local scene for close to 30 years. Only in 1936 when British Jardine Matheson launched their EWO brand, the beer market heated up and the long-held no 1 spot of U.B. became seriously contested.