The JoongAng Ilbo gives it to the local beer industry with both barrels, exposing what is essentially a Mongolian clusterfuck of tax farming and special interests.
The reader who sent me the link—a person who knows his beer—wrote, “[T]his article in the Joongang is easily the best article I’ve ever read about the beer industry in Korea. Way better than that Economist article.”
The Economist makes a complaint often heard: The food in South Korea is great, but the beer is well, you know, just…boring.
Adding insult to hangover, it says North Korean beer is better.
Some South Korean beers skimp on barley malt, using the likes of rice in its place. Others are full of corn. And despite the recent creation of Hite Dry Finish—a step in the right direction—brewing remains just about the only useful activity at which North Korea beats the South. The North’s Taedonggang Beer, made with equipment imported from Britain, tastes surprisingly good.
An editorial in Dong-a Ilbo says that Korean brewers aren’t taking the rice and corn accusations so well, and are claiming that The Economist is full of it.
South Korean beer companies denied the allegations, with one saying, “Most (South) Korean beers contain more than 70 percent malt, and some including Hite Max of Hite and OB Golden Lager of OB contain 100 percent malt. Rice and corn are not cheaper than malt, and these grains are used in the mixture to generate a mild taste.”
The Ilbo also adds that the locally brewed version of Hoegaarden (mediocre) shows that the South is on the cutting edge of beer technology. And besides, Korean brewers claim, the domestic market likes its beer boring.
Other than Belgium, Hoegaarden is produced in South Korea and Russia only, which demonstrates how advanced South Korea’s beer production technology is. Hite and OB Brewery say differences in flavor between imported and Korean beers are due to consumer preference.
They are drafting a letter of complaint (perhaps to be sent in a bottle) to The Economist.
North Korea is such a busy place nowadays, especially considering the early fourth of July celebration they threw for Americans everywhere with their fireworks show. All this and now the first North Korean advertising for beer, on TV. Per the BBC:
Billed as the “Pride of Pyongyang”, the advert promises drinkers that the beer will help ease stress.
The TV spot perhaps sets a record as well as for being the longest beer commercial on TV running for two-and-one-half minutes.
Concurent to this new age in North Korean advertising, North Korea is also facing a critical food shortage that is posed to threaten more than a few children as well.