There is Cheap, but no Inexpensive Beer in Taiwan

There’s a saying in Taiwanese, “cheap things are not good stuff, and good stuff has no cheap things.”  In some situations, even cheap stuff can be costly. Sometimes low prices just don’t exist. That’s true when you shop for beer in Taiwan. 

Last week I finished the final bottle of home-brew from the basement. The brew store being at a distance from our home, I haven’t even asked if it’s an essential business in this time of plague. Happily, though, liquor stores have been deemed essential in Michigan. While ordering online take-out from a local restaurant I noticed a large store that offers delivery through the same contractors who bring burritos and such. I wandered over there (online) and began looking for bargains.

You’d think that Corona beer would be on sale, but it’s not. Though the bottom may have dropped out of its market, the price hasn’t budged a penny. I couldn’t find anything less expensive than PBR, so that’s what I ordered.  Compared to the other stuff on offer, it was inexpensive, and, as you might expect, it also tastes fairly cheap. 

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Buying beer in Taiwan is simpler. Even with the many imported brands available, and the increased number of private brewing companies competing with Taiwan Beer, there’s still nowhere near the selection that one finds here. Taiwan Beer, though refreshing, is a fairly ordinary industrial product.  Every few years the company brings out a different variety for a season or so, but doesn’t continue these for very long. What they all share is a similar price point, about 32 Taiwan Dollars for a 15 ounce can, and 45 for a “tall”. Compared to PBR, it’s similarly cheap beer, but it’s not inexpensive. 

David Alexander now resides in Holland, MI after 39 years in Taiwan.

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