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The Economist Comments on Korean Beer: It Sucks!
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jdog2050



Joined: 17 Dec 2006

PostPosted: Wed Dec 12, 2012 1:51 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

KimchiNinja wrote:
Common sense intermission...

Arguing on the internet won't change what exists. The various cultures of Earth evolved their own diets/tastes based on what was available to them, and what combinations tasted good.

...we now return you to your regular program.


Where is the face-palm emoticon?

Your sarcasm would make sense if it wasn't for the fact that Korea has had a duopoly on beer since its foundation and has only recently had decently priced imports. It's going to take a while for that to filter into cuisine. Again, if you have a choice but your choices are all awful then you...don't *really* have a choice, do you?

My case-in-point: there's a Belgian beer bar near Seoul station. They only have belgian beers and American craft imports...and they have Korean Anju...and they are packed everynight even though the beer costs upwards of 20,000W for some.
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Steelrails



Joined: 12 Mar 2009
Location: Earth, Solar System

PostPosted: Wed Dec 12, 2012 5:07 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

jdog2050 wrote:
KimchiNinja wrote:
Common sense intermission...

Arguing on the internet won't change what exists. The various cultures of Earth evolved their own diets/tastes based on what was available to them, and what combinations tasted good.

...we now return you to your regular program.


Where is the face-palm emoticon?

Your sarcasm would make sense if it wasn't for the fact that Korea has had a duopoly on beer since its foundation and has only recently had decently priced imports. It's going to take a while for that to filter into cuisine. Again, if you have a choice but your choices are all awful then you...don't *really* have a choice, do you?

My case-in-point: there's a Belgian beer bar near Seoul station. They only have belgian beers and American craft imports...and they have Korean Anju...and they are packed everynight even though the beer costs upwards of 20,000W for some.


But you're confusing a niche market (although its growing substantially) with the broader sector. You can't market that to Jeolla-farmer Kim Six Pack with three mouths to feed as he takes his family out for their weekly dinner or his "Lets kill a 3000cc with 3 bottles of soju and a plate of chicken butt" guy.

In that situation the beer has to be mass-marketable and sociable, as restaurant sales and situations where alcohol is shared account for the overwhelming majority of sales.

Now there's no reason that an upscale joint in the city shouldn't be able to sell single bottles of a domestic beer that doesn't taste like beered-up tap water and is serving it along with Korean food even. But that's not something you can market to every single hof, chicken shack, and restaurant in all of Korea. And with the brewery duopoly (which I strongly oppose), well you're going to get bottom line concerns and a "Coke vs. Pepsi" situation.

It's just in Koreans' mind, if they are going to be paying 5000 won for a small bottle of beer, they're probably going to go with something that has established "prestige" and name recognition.

It's not like the major breweries haven't tried to release more complex beers, but they've mostly been flops. Hopefully market restrictions will change which will enable private distillers to brew their own beers. Clearly there is some demand.

This vaguely reminds me of the whole "Why does everyone listen to Kpop in Korea" argument. Part of it has to do with the social nature of things. When you have noraebangs and the custom of picking up an entire tab for a group of people and everyone sharing things, you are going to tend to go with least-common denominator solutions.

And I think we can all agree that the terms "least" and "common" fit Cass and Hite to a T.

But as people have mentioned, tastes are expanding, its not uncommon to visit bars and see foreign beers being enjoyed and requested. There's a reason Guiness is able to advertise on TV. The Big Two need to either find a way to diversify and encourage craft brewing or risk losing market share. Controlling distribution of imported beers and obtaining licenses is a decent "middle" strategy, but in an industry as fickle as hospitality & restaurants, its one that needs to ensure that it develops the late game smaller models that enable innovation through new products that can capture/preserve market share.

Quote:
With Coke! (Pepsi is for loosers.)


I agree that Pepsi is generally vile. But for some reason American Chinese food goes much better with Pepsi. Just as Taco Bell MUST go with Dr. Pepper.
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young_clinton



Joined: 09 Sep 2009

PostPosted: Wed Dec 12, 2012 6:30 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Unibrow wrote:
I drink Cass and Hite, but in the States I drink Milwaukees Best usually.


I used to drink Milwaukees Best. Only because it was so much cheaper than the "Premium" brands. It's probably the best brand for the money in the USA, even if it's not the greatest beer. Of course the quality of the "Premium" brands in the USA is well known so put two and two together about the quality of Milwaukees Best.
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young_clinton



Joined: 09 Sep 2009

PostPosted: Wed Dec 12, 2012 6:41 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Steelrails wrote:


I agree that Pepsi is generally vile.


Pepsi is a better seller than Coke, although Coke sells more of its total products than Pepsi. The reason I dislike Pepsi, is it's undercarbonated. It reminds me of sweet Kool Aid. The inferior carbonation in Pepsi is unpalatable to me. Coke has a lot more carbonation, which gives me the feeling of having more to it. Also the greater carbonation gives Coke a slightly pungent taste to it, I really like that taste. They put less carbonation in Pepsi, I think, because it makes it taste sweeter, and a lot of people think that's more important. To me it's like buying Kool-Aid. I don't see why anybody likes the stuff.

Oh! Surprised Do we have any Pepsi drinkers on the forum? Laughing
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12ax7



Joined: 07 Nov 2009

PostPosted: Wed Dec 12, 2012 1:00 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

young_clinton wrote:
Steelrails wrote:


I agree that Pepsi is generally vile.


Pepsi is a better seller than Coke, although Coke sells more of its total products than Pepsi. The reason I dislike Pepsi, is it's undercarbonated. It reminds me of sweet Kool Aid. The inferior carbonation in Pepsi is unpalatable to me. Coke has a lot more carbonation, which gives me the feeling of having more to it. Also the greater carbonation gives Coke a slightly pungent taste to it, I really like that taste. They put less carbonation in Pepsi, I think, because it makes it taste sweeter, and a lot of people think that's more important. To me it's like buying Kool-Aid. I don't see why anybody likes the stuff.

Oh! Surprised Do we have any Pepsi drinkers on the forum? Laughing


It's not just the carbonation. I read somewhere that Pepsi has more sugar in it than Coke.
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Mix1



Joined: 08 May 2007

PostPosted: Wed Dec 12, 2012 8:55 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Steelrails wrote:

This vaguely reminds me of the whole "Why does everyone listen to Kpop in Korea" argument.

Me too.
In that argument, some are fine calling it out as the inferior product that it generally is, while others make all sorts of excuses for it.

- "But THEY like it, so leave them alone."
- "Yeah we know they do. It still sucks."

Although in this thread, there's a lot more agreement. Almost everyone seems to agree the beer here is pretty bad. Although if you had rabid K-beer fans/bloggers on the case, it could be a different story.

-"You don't like Cass? It's a worldwide sensation! You beer snob!"
-"Huh? Seriously, it's watered-down, beer-flavored Kool-aid and it gives me a wicked headache. I really don't like it."
-"You must hate Korea!"

Wink
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Steelrails



Joined: 12 Mar 2009
Location: Earth, Solar System

PostPosted: Wed Dec 12, 2012 11:25 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Mix1 wrote:
Steelrails wrote:

This vaguely reminds me of the whole "Why does everyone listen to Kpop in Korea" argument.

Me too.
In that argument, some are fine calling it out as the inferior product that it generally is, while others make all sorts of excuses for it.

- "But THEY like it, so leave them alone."
- "Yeah we know they do. It still sucks."

Although in this thread, there's a lot more agreement. Almost everyone seems to agree the beer here is pretty bad. Although if you had rabid K-beer fans/bloggers on the case, it could be a different story.

-"You don't like Cass? It's a worldwide sensation! You beer snob!"
-"Huh? Seriously, it's watered-down, beer-flavored Kool-aid and it gives me a wicked headache. I really don't like it."
-"You must hate Korea!"

Wink


But one of the things is that people assume that Koreans all listen to KPop because they enjoy that style of music. They make that first thought and don't look at things a little more deeply.

A big part of listening to KPop is the whole noraebang aspect. Singing together is a social phenomenon. It is integral to social and dating life. With that in mind, the music must have broad appeal. Everyone unites around music.

Rather similar to the beer. Social restaurant gatherings where people share alcohol and eat are an integral part of socializing. That means generic alcohols and ones that match the food being served. Since someone is always picking up the tab, that means costs try to stay reasonable. 20 bottles of Indica at 8,000 each = 160,000 won for one person. Or you just all share a few pitchers of Hite and pay about 40,000. Now that's not to say that there shouldn't be some sort of sane middleground in terms of improved beer quality and better prices and so on, but that is a consideration.

In short the one-line drive-by explanations are seldom sufficient to understand the reasons things are the way they are.
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Mix1



Joined: 08 May 2007

PostPosted: Thu Dec 13, 2012 1:50 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Steelrails wrote:
Mix1 wrote:
Steelrails wrote:

This vaguely reminds me of the whole "Why does everyone listen to Kpop in Korea" argument.

Me too.
In that argument, some are fine calling it out as the inferior product that it generally is, while others make all sorts of excuses for it.

- "But THEY like it, so leave them alone."
- "Yeah we know they do. It still sucks."

Although in this thread, there's a lot more agreement. Almost everyone seems to agree the beer here is pretty bad. Although if you had rabid K-beer fans/bloggers on the case, it could be a different story.

-"You don't like Cass? It's a worldwide sensation! You beer snob!"
-"Huh? Seriously, it's watered-down, beer-flavored Kool-aid and it gives me a wicked headache. I really don't like it."
-"You must hate Korea!"

Wink


But one of the things is that people assume that Koreans all listen to KPop because they enjoy that style of music. They make that first thought and don't look at things a little more deeply.

A big part of listening to KPop is the whole noraebang aspect. Singing together is a social phenomenon. It is integral to social and dating life. With that in mind, the music must have broad appeal. Everyone unites around music.

Rather similar to the beer. Social restaurant gatherings where people share alcohol and eat are an integral part of socializing. That means generic alcohols and ones that match the food being served. Since someone is always picking up the tab, that means costs try to stay reasonable. 20 bottles of Indica at 8,000 each = 160,000 won for one person. Or you just all share a few pitchers of Hite and pay about 40,000. Now that's not to say that there shouldn't be some sort of sane middleground in terms of improved beer quality and better prices and so on, but that is a consideration.

In short the one-line drive-by explanations are seldom sufficient to understand the reasons things are the way they are.

That was deep. Doesn't really speak to quality much but rather skirts around it.
So if I'm reading it right...

Koreans listen to K-pop but don't necessarily enjoy it... but it's good noraebang fodder, because everyone can unite around (presumably bad) music.

For beer, sharing alcohol and eating are integral to socializing, so the lowest quality generic alcohol should be used, as that is the best match for the food. And to do anything different might cost more, so keep it on the cheap. Simply making a better beer is out of the question.

So then... they don't necessarily even like their own music, are tightwads who don't want quality drinks with dinner, and the food cannot mix well with a higher quality beer anyway? Ouch. Doesn't put the locals or the food in a very good light, does it? And you call yourself an apologist?

Wink
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