How much beer do the Chinese drink

Etiquette for drinking alcohol in China

Alcohol is just as popular in China as it is in Europe and people in China also like to drink alcohol with friends - but especially with business friends and business partners. This is especially true in the north of China, although alcohol consumption is also very pronounced in the south of China. Over 50 percent of the Chinese, however, do not tolerate alcohol well because they lack an important enzyme for breaking down alcohol in the body. This can be seen in faces that suddenly turn bright red while drinking, and that after just one or two glasses of beer. However, many Chinese are quite capable of drinking large amounts of alcohol. Especially when it comes to making a "good" impression on your business partner during a business lunch.

Pouring drinks in China

In China, a drinking glass always has to be full, in contrast to Europe, where you usually only refill when a glass is empty. So it is also refilled even though you have hardly had anything to drink. This is especially true for lighter alcoholic beverages like beer.

Usually the host will do the pouring - or in the restaurant the waitress or waiter will do the pouring. You should avoid pouring yourself something without first having refilled to all the other guests at the table - even if it is hinted at. A few drops can even fit into a full glass.

Toast and toast

Once the glasses are full, it is time to toast and toast. If you toast with the other guests, there are also some subtleties here that may not be immediately noticeable.

As a special expression of respect for an older or superior person, the glass is held with two hands when clinking it, one hand holding the glass normally while the other hand is held with the palm facing up under the glass bottom. Another particularly polite expression of respect is to make sure that you hold your own glass a little lower than the glass of the other when you bump into it.

However, no Chinese would expect a European to really know these subtleties. Especially since Europeans usually stand outside the Chinese social hierarchy anyway.

On festive occasions, the host may also say a few nice words on this occasion. The word to watch out for is gan, which literally means dry glass. And that is exactly what is meant. In Germany one would say "on ex". Bottom up!

Decline invitation to drink alcohol

During the meal, the Chinese host will likely ask if you would like to drink alcohol. He will probably suggest a beer like Tsintao to the German guest. In addition, probably Maotai or a similar Chinese white wine. The schnapps-like drink has nothing to do with white wine. Nobody knows why the Chinese word for schnapps "bai jiu" is often translated as white wine. White schnapps would be more correct.

Of course, simply rejecting the invitation to drink with a rude "no" is not possible. So there are two options: to drink along (possibly quite a lot) or to invent a polite excuse. The first option does not need any further explanation. Depending on the temperament and ability to drink of the Chinese counterpart, this can lead to a second bottle of Maotai being ordered soon afterwards.

In order not to drink along without embarrassing the other person with a direct rejection, you should have a little excuse ready. Since as a foreigner you usually travel by taxi or a chauffeur, the classic "I still have to drive" is omitted in this case. For example, an acceptable excuse is to take medication that does not allow alcohol consumption.