Video of man urinating in beer vats sends Tsingtao share price crashing

BEER connoisseurs are famously loyal creatures, sticking to a few preferred brands and quick to proclaim all else to taste like, well, urine.

Such a view may now contain an ugly truth – a video purportedly showing a man dressed in Tsingtao beer company overalls urinating into a tank has gone viral. The tank is believed to contain ingredients for the beer at one of Tsingtao’s factories in China.

The video posted on Weibo which has already garnered tens of millions views has sent shockwaves through the industry as Tsing Tao is one of the most popular brews in China. It is also the country’s largest beer exporter.

The video also has had a seismic effect in the stock market with shares in Tsingtao Brewery Co Ltd falling sharply when the Shanghai Stock Exchange opened on Monday (Oct 23) morning but were trading broadly flat by the afternoon. The Hong Kong market, where Tsingtao shares are also listed, was closed on Monday (Oct 23) for the Chung Yeung Festival holiday.

Tsingtao’s closing share price the Shanghai Stock Exchange today (Oct 24)
Tsingtao’s closing share price on the Hong Kong Stock Exchange today (Oct 24)

According to the BBC, the video clip which appeared online on Thursday (Oct 19) featured a worker – dressed in uniform with a helmet on – can be seen climbing over a high wall and into the container before urinating inside it.

The location tag of the clip reads “Tsingtao beer No.3 factory”, local news outlet The Paper reported on Friday (Oct 20).

China’s business publication National Business Daily later cited an internal source as saying both the person who took the video and the person appearing in it were not direct employees of the company.

In a statement published on Friday (Oct 20), the bureau of market supervision and administration of Pingdu City where the factory is located said they immediately set up a team to conduct an on-site investigation after spotting the video and sealed the whole batch of ingredients that appeared in the clip.

It also added that the bureau would deal with the matter seriously once details are confirmed.

This looks suspiciously like a case of industrial espionage as the actions of the man were deliberately recorded and uploaded on a popular China social media platform. Designed to wreak maximum damage on the brand, it remains to be seen what long lasting effects there will be on Tsingtao beer sales, both domestically and abroad. – Oct 24, 2023

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