Daily DripPhotos

Master Gao: From Punk Roots to Mass Distribution


Our photo theme this week: It Came from the Convenience Store. Various and sundry “only-in-China” goods that can be found at any corner xiaomaibu.

As this week’s Wǒ Men Podcast points out, Beijing’s Great Leap Brewing is northern China’s first ever craft brewery. Down south, one of the older names in the game is Master Gao of Nanjing.* I’m not going to wade into who does it better (I like ’em all, really), but one remarkable thing about Master Gao is that they’ve managed to crack the mass-distribution nut, and are the only craft beer you can reliably pick up at any 7-11 in any major city in China.

The selection is pretty limited — I’ve only ever seen the two pictured above, their Baby IPA and Baby Jasmine lager — and each admittedly tastes much better on tap. But they really score points in my book for the punk rock roots of their founder, the eponymous Mr. Gao.

In April, for the brand’s 9th anniversary, they introduced a new beer for Wuhan punk legends SMZB named after their 2016 album, The Chinese Are Coming. My own band played at a bar in Nanjing earlier this year that had the full range of Master Gao brews on tap, virtually straight from the source, and I can confirm that they all taste certifiably punk.

Here’s a beer-themed SMZB tune to close this out:


Wǒ Men Podcast: Beijing’s Queen of Craft Beer

* Note: An earlier version of this article stated that Master Gao Brewery was founded in 2008, based on information posted on Brewery DB. A reader pointed out that in fact Master Gao Brewery was founded several years later.

Josh Feola
Josh Feola is a US-based writer and musician, and RADII's former Culture Editor. His coverage of Chinese music and art has appeared in The Wire, Dazed, MIT Technology Review, Artsy, Bandcamp Daily and more. He's been active in China's underground music scene since 2010 via his booking platform pangbianr.com, and is a former member of Beijing bands Chui Wan, SUBS, and Vagus Nerve.

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