North Korea’s Beer Boom

As advertising slogans go, “Taedong River Beer is the pride of Pyongyang” isn’t exactly up there with “Tastes great, less filling,” but it’ll have to do for now. North Korea just trotted out its first-ever beer commercial, and the move—coming as it does from a famine-ravaged, war-poised, dictatorship—has prompted head-scratching from Tokyo to London to New York.

If this synth-riddled video collage doesn’t make you thirsty for a macro-brew, there’s something wrong with you.

Quoth the AP piece on the beer ad:

“[An] official, who has been monitoring the North’s television for more than two decades, told The Associated Press that it was the first time he had seen any sort of advertisement for food, much less beer—although he has seen programs on North Korean cuisine.”

The BBC follows up with a fascinating profile of the Ushers brewery, formerly located in the Wiltshire town of Trowbridge. It was shipped in 2000, piece-by-piece, to the North Koreans, and now brews the beer whose ad is sparking international chatter.

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