North Korea Beer

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Today in 1948, North Korea declared their Independence from Korea.

North Korea
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North Korea Breweries

North Korea Brewery Guides

Other Guides

Guild: None Known

National Regulatory Agency: None

Beverage Alcohol Labeling Requirements: Not Known

Drunk Driving Laws: BAC N/A

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  • Full Name: Democratic People’s Republic of Korea
  • Location: Eastern Asia, northern half of the Korean Peninsula bordering the Korea Bay and the Sea of Japan, between China and South Korea
  • Government Type: Communist state one-man dictatorship
  • Language: Korean
  • Religion(s): Traditionally Buddhist and Confucianist, some Christian and syncretic Chondogyo (Religion of the Heavenly Way). Note: autonomous religious activities now almost nonexistent; government-sponsored religious groups exist to provide illusion of religious freedom
  • Capital: Pyongyang
  • Population: 24,589,122; 49th
  • Area: 120,538 sq km, 99th
  • Comparative Area: Slightly smaller than Mississippi
  • National Food: Kimchi
  • National Symbols: Korean Tiger; Magnolia; Red Star
  • Affiliations: UN
  • Independence: Founding of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK), September 9, 1948 / From Japan, August 15, 1945

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  • Alcohol Legal: Yes
  • Minimum Drinking Age: 18 (Alcoholic beverages are served on Saturdays)
  • BAC: N/A
  • Label Requirements: N/A
  • Number of Breweries: 1

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  • How to Say “Beer”: mek-ju (maek-joo) / 맥주 / 발포성 음료
  • How to Order a Beer: N/A
  • How to Say “Cheers”: N/A
  • Toasting Etiquette: N/A

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Alcohol Consumption By Type:

  • Beer: N/A
  • Wine: N/A
  • Spirits: N/A
  • Other: N/A

Alcohol Consumption Per Capita (in litres):

  • Recorded: N/A
  • Unrecorded: N/A
  • Total: N/A
  • Beer: N/A

WHO Alcohol Data:

  • Per Capita Consumption: N/A
  • Alcohol Consumption Trend: N/A
  • Excise Taxes: N/A
  • Minimum Age: 18
  • Sales Restrictions: N/A
  • Advertising Restrictions: N/A
  • Sponsorship/Promotional Restrictions: N/A

Patterns of Drinking Score: N/A

Prohibition: None

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North Korea’s First Beer Commercial

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Taedonggang is a brand of beer from North Korea. It’s brewed by the state-owned Taedonggang Brewing Company based in Pyongyang, and is named for the nearby Taedong River. The North Koreans bought an English brewery, Usher’s Brewery in Trowbridge (part of Wiltshire), in 2002 and shipped it back to Asia. They produce 4 brands of beer, of which Taedonggang Beer is the flagship.

In a somewhat surprising move for a fiercely communist country, the state-owned Korean Central Television aired their first ever commercial, and it was a beer ad for Taedonggang beer.

A BBC article describes the ad:

Young women in traditional Korean dress are shown serving trays of beer to men in Western suits.

Billed as the “Pride of Pyongyang”, the advert promises drinkers that the beer will help ease stress.

“It represents the new look of Pyongyang,” the two-and-a-half minute advert says. “It will be a familiar part of our lives.”

I don’t know Korean, but according to a CBS report, “the commercial said the beer relieves stress and improves health and longevity” and went on to assure “viewers of the beer’s quality and nutritional value, saying it was made of rice and contained protein and vitamin B2.”

To see the strange, at times surreal, commercial, click on the image below.


Taedonggang beer, originally uploaded by Rikke Søvsø Nielsen.