The Dear Leaders Finest Beer

Taedonggang Beer: a sweaty alternative to imperial puppet regime brews.

Taedonggang Beer: a sweaty alternative to imperial puppet regime brews.

Taedonggang Beer is a brand of North Korean beer brewed by the state-owned Taedonggang Brewing Company based in the country’s capital, Pyongyang. It is named after the Taedong River, which runs through the center of Pyongyang. In 2000, the North Korean government bought a complete brewery from the defunct British brewery, Ushers of Trowbridge, Wiltshire, England for £1.5M via broker Uwe Oehms. There were, of course, concerns the equipment could be used for chemical weapons production but the North Koreans promised to only use said equipment for its intended purpose. Everyone knows the regime often breaks their promises, however, thanks to the power of beer; it seems they kept their word and are using the brewery equipment for good after all.

Taedonggang Beer

Taedonggang Beer, Pyongyang’s finest.

“When I was visiting North Korea, I was pleasantly surprised at the quality of their Taedonggang beer, of which we drank quite a lot,” recalls Alistair Humphrey – or “Humph” – whose father was chief brewer for the British ale makers Usher’s of Trowbridge, before he died and the brewery was sold.
” Getting Drunk in North Korea” article at [The Atlantic]

Kim Jung Il, The Dear Leaders father, examines the ale.

Kim Jung Il, The Dear Leader’s father, examines the ale.

Inside the DPRK, it is reported to be the top brand of beer, according to expatriates living in the country and it is easily found at restaurants and bars. It can also be found in Pyongyang hotels for foreigners, where prices for a small bottle of Taedonggang cost about half a euro, or 75 U.S. cents in 2008.

The beer was sold in South Korea starting in 2005. In 2007, however, availability of Taedonggang beer in South Korea began to lessen and it is now widely believed that it is no longer being imported into the country. The main reason may have been a 70% price increase.

So, instead of the “King of Beers,” It could be supposed we have in Taedonggang Beer, “The beer of dictators.”

Has anyone tried it? What did you think of it?

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