January 23, 2021

Brewing up a storm: how Chinese imports fuel North Korea’s booming beer industry

Even amid COVID-19 trade restrictions, DPRK imports of “essential” roasted malt continue unabated

Since the 2002 debut of the Taedonggang Beer Factory, North Korean beer has been a source of national pride -- from the ubiquitous brew itself to the drafts available at Pyongyang’s high-quality microbreweries.

Romantic marketing often highlights the beer’s wholly domestic production. Taedonggang, for instance, uses “water of the River Taedong, barley of South Hwanghae Province and hops of Ryanggang Province,” or so state media claims.