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Beijing’s Great Leap Forward: Microbrew in China

A Sinica Podcast

Justin Sullivan—Getty Images

Great Leap Brewing is an institution. As one of the earliest American-style microbreweries in China, not only has the company rescued us from endless nights of Snow and Yanjing, but it has also given us something uniquely Chinese with its assortment of peppercorn, honey, and tea-flavored beers. So as much as we love the other microbreweries in Beijing and throw our money at them too, it’s no accident the Great Leap taproom is our most frequent destination most evenings after recording a show.

via Great Leap Brewery

Today on Sinica, Kaiser Kuo sits down with Great Leap founder Carl Setzer to talk about his story in China: why Great Leap got started, how the company fits into the beer industry in China, and what it’s like to run a food and beverage startup as a foreigner. This is a surprisingly intimate look at one of the places we’ve grown to take for granted, filled with details on their touch-and-go early years and the bureaucratic run-in that almost crippled the business.