Down and out in Shandong: Tsingtao beer sales plummet after urinating worker video goes viral

by WorldTribune Staff, October 25, 2023

“I’ve always said the beer here is like horse pee. Turns out I was wrong,” a Chinese social media user posted after a video of a worker appearing to urinate into a tank at a Tsingtao beer plant in Shandong (no joke) province went viral.

A video that was shared on China’s Weibo microblogging site appeared to show a worker urinating inside a container of ingredients at a factory operated by Tsingtao Brewery.

So, having Dylan Mulvaney as your spokesperson appears to not be the only way to tank beer sales.

After the urinating worker video went viral, restaurants and convenience stores in South Korea, which apparently imports a lot of Chinese beer, saw a sudden drop in sales of Tsingtao, according to media reports.

The clip, which has been viewed tens of millions of times on social media since it appeared last Thursday, shows a man wearing a helmet and blue uniform clambering over the side of a high-walled container and apparently relieving himself over its contents.

The JoongAng Daily newspaper in South Korea reported that a number of restaurants, most of which serve Chinese food, had applied for refunds on shipments of Tsingtao, but added that the beer’s South Korean importer had turned down the requests.

“I asked if we could get a refund for the Tsingtao beer we already bought, but [the importer’s representative] said that’s not possible,” the newspaper quoted an employee at a Chinese restaurant in Seoul as saying.

The employee said diners had started requesting beers other than Tsingtao, according to the newspaper.

Convenience store operators said they had also seen significant falls in sales of Tsingtao while sales of other imported beers, including Budweiser and Stella Artois, had risen by more than a third from a week earlier, South Korean media said.

Officials in Pingdu, a city in Shandong province where the factory is located, said they had launched an investigation into the incident.

Both the man who appeared to urinate in the video and the person who filmed it have been detained by the police, reported the state-owned outlet National Business Daily.

The outlet also said, citing an internal source familiar with the matter, that the duo were not direct employees of Tsingtao but rather external hires.

Tsingtao, China’s second-biggest brewery and a major exporter, said it has contacted police after learning about the video. “Our company attaches high importance to the relevant video that emerged from Tsingtao Brewery No. 3 on 19 October,” the beermaker said in a statement.

It added: “At present, the batch of malt in question has been completely sealed. The company continues to strengthen its management procedures and ensure product quality.”

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