Something Brewing?

By Joe Alonzo Feb 4, 2014
Long established as Thailand’s premium beer Singha has dominated the beer market of Thailand for over 8 decades. With the establishment of Chang beer in 1995 that offered a cheaper and stronger product, Singha had to diversify, which led to the creation of Leo Beer, a lighter and slightly sweeter version of Singha beer.

Leo could compete with Chang beer on a price and quality level. Both companies have been battling for shelf space for the last 2 decades, but what do these two beers both share? flavor, taste, style marketing.... Isn’t there room for something new? Something more innovative, something that pushes the limits of what we think of as beer and what our ancestors sauntered into the pubs and quenched their thirst with. We’re missing diversity! Sure with the overwhelming heat of Thailand, most of us want a simple lager to wash down a spicy curry, but many of us crave something more invigorating, something more interesting and complex but don’t want to spend a small fortune to buy it.

Is there any hope for those unlucky souls stuck in this lager paradise? The craft beer movement is slow to get rolling but it starting to take a foothold in Thailand. Bangkok has seen the opening of Tawandawg which makes pilsner, wheat and dark wheat styles of beer, Full Moon Brew Works in Phuket has been attracting patrons to taste it’s locally produced beverages with success. Is Krabi next in line?

Thailand legislation makes it difficult for small business to start a brewpub or factory bottling and distributing throughout the country. There are many laws in place to make the process rather difficult the first being a rather high capitalization as opposed to normal company startups, the other being excise department approval. This being said, it is not impossible to start a beer- producing restaurant or factory, it just may be one of the reasons you’re not seeing new crazy labels pouring off the shelves.

Krabi is a few paces behind Phuket but still many points and areas of Krabi resemble those of Phuket and give us an idea of where Krabi is headed. With Phuket Beer opening in recent years, it gives us some hope that a locally produced and affordable product will soon be available to us. Krabi will soon have it’s own brewery to put the province’s stamp on the beer map of South East Asia, but until then us suds-craving enthusiasts will have to dig deep into our pockets looking for enough cash to buy a bottle of import brew.

2013 saw the introduction of Thailands first ever Craft Beer Festival featuring such breweries as BrewDog from Scotland, Rogue and Anderson Valley from the US, it was the first ever event of its kind and was a huge success in Bangkok, is this the tipping point for the craft beer scene in Thailand?

You be the judge, write us at info@krabi-magazine.com to give us your opinion on the market and what you would like to see happen in the coming year.

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