North Korean beer debuts to rave reviews from North Korean state media

Photos: Tomohiro Ohsumi, Image Source/Getty Images
Photos: Tomohiro Ohsumi, Image Source/Getty Images

North Korea’s lone brewery, the Taedonggang brewery, recently changed its recipe to include more wheat, rather than barley, in the beer. And wouldn’t you know, the government say it’s great!


The BBC reports that the official state newspaper, Rodong Sinmun, described the beer as “better than existing beers in terms of its taste and smell.” Rodong Sinmun also says the beer has “already gained positive reviews from North Korean citizens”—who, it bears stating, have been starved by their own government and cut off from the international community. But hey, really, they love the wheat beer.

The North Korean paper naturally wields the beer as a propaganda tool: “Under the leadership of the party organization, factory engineers have been striving to develop a new wheat beer with the goal of contributing to making life more enjoyable and enjoyable for people by developing the popular wheat beer around the world.”

I’d blame this weird text on Google Translate, but I’m pretty sure that’s the newspaper’s actual syntax. Anyway, if Rodong Sinmun’s objective journalism is to be believed, North Koreas are practically beside themselves with excitement over a likely mediocre wheat beer. Perhaps the government believes the beer will momentarily distract citizens from the reality of crippling sanctions and threat of nuclear war—look, comrades, North Korea’s in the Olympics!

Kate Bernot is a freelance writer and a certified beer judge. She was previously managing editor at The Takeout.


No matter how much of this is propaganda, I can guarantee it’s better than this: