Tuesday, May 11, 2004

Alcohol Zoo

Alcohol Zoo

We might be seeing "Chang" instead of "Carlsberg" being emblazoned on the red shirt of the Liverpool team next season. Chang together with Singha are two most popular brands of local beer in Thailand. With PM Thaksin about to seal his deal to take up a 30% stake in the Liverpool football club, there are rumours that Beer Thai--the local company that produces the Chang Beer--is interested to sponsor the Liverpool team next season. The company started as a JV with Calsberg but that partnership came to an end recently. Chang is currently the best selling beer in Thailand with over 70% market-share, usurping the previous leader Singha.

"Chang" is the Thai word for elephant--similar to the Chinese one. It is interesting to note that most popular beer brands are named after animals: Singha (Lion) and Tiger are other examples. Even Guinness Stout, is referred to as "Bulldog" in Malaysia and Singapore.

In Indonesia, Bintang, Anker and Bali Hai are the popular beer brands. Stouts seem not to be so popular--I always have difficulty ordering it, especially in the more seedy pubs. Furthermore, the waiters here will have a hard time understanding you if you pronounce it as "sta-out". Try "stoot" instead. Or better still, say "bir hitam" (black beer).

I must admit to being a bit of a beer-guzzler; I'll always order one to go with my meal whenever I'm in Bangkok and Jakarta. Unfortunately (or fortunately) it's a bit too expensive for me to do so in KL. Nothing beats a nice cool beer after a hard day's work. I'm also fond of "warm stout" --unchilled Guinness Stout. Come to think of it, I'm fond of most alcoholic drinks.

People always say that one shouldn't mix drinks over a boozing session--you end up getting drunk very easily. Well, to me, it doesn't matter--alcohol is alcohol. Give me the whole menagerie--tigers, bulldogs, lions, elephants and what-have-you--I'll down them anytime. *hic*

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