Sat, Sep 14, 2013 - Page 12 News List

Taiwan Beer goes to New York

By Chris Fuchs  /  Contributing reporter

Case, Bierkraft’s bartender, agreed.

“I’ve never really thought about it, the politics and all between China and Taiwan,” he said. “Now you’ve got me thinking.”

What resonates loudly for Bierkraft’s employees, though, is that Taiwan Beer, coming from a small island nation that has produced what some consider a “craft” product for more than 90 years, is a dependable lager that is refreshing and will not break the bank.

“I think it’s a fine beer for what it is,” said Joe Tracy, Bierkraft’s beer manager, adding that his store goes through five cases at least every two weeks. “On a hot summer day after getting done from work, sometimes a Taiwan Beer is exactly what I want to drink.”

Some beer drinkers interviewed suggested that Taiwan Beer might become the next Pabst Blue Ribbon — the darling American adjunct lager among hipsters — but Elizabeth Zalarick, beer supervisor at the Lower East Side Whole Foods, was not ready to make that call.

“I don’t know about that,” Zalarick said, laughing. “When we first started carrying Taiwan Beer, it was pretty popular. People would buy two or three six-packs at a time. Now, it’s slowed down.”

Even though Taiwan Beer will likely never chase China’s Tsingtao out of the American market, Chan said that after selling it in New York for the last three years, she has developed a newfound respect for her country’s national beverage.

“It suddenly has a new life because of its surroundings,” she said. “When Americans drink it, they know they are drinking something that tastes of Taiwan.”

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