The price of beer in Taiwan is terrible

Okay so I love Taiwan and all that goes with it for sure. But being a huge fan of alcohol isnt a good thing in Taiwan. I’d love to see the % of wages spent on alcohol for the average foreigner ( not Tea drinking locals ) compared to how much the average joe would spend in the UK or even America.
After spending roughly 264 on a CAN yes a can of Abbot Ale in the tavern I started to think how much profit they are making comparatively. 264 works out as 5.61 a drink. All the other pubs are nearly as bad and dont even bat an eyelid when people are shocked. Yesterday my dad told me that he could get 12 bottles of ale for 12 pound (565nt). Bearing in mind an ale here is roughly 230-240 + service charge at most places ( as said around 5.60) the price of 12 bottles is almost the same as 2 pints in a pub. Carnegies are the best bet from what I have seen : London Pride ale is 180 on happy hour ( 3.82) and I also have a 10% service charge card ( which cant be used in conjunction to happy hour) . On Tap is around 230 + service charge so roughly 250 (5.30) for some horrid fruit Belhaven ale , also they dont have a regular happy hour like carnegies but do have cheap Carlseberg but who the hell wants to drink that? JB’s which prides itself on English ale is also expensive ( roughly between 230-250nt) but they do have a better selection.
Im complaining specifically about ale here but beer in general is badly priced. In a country full of non drinkers it does make me wonder why beer is so overpriced . Ironically I can go to Carrefour or RT mart and pick up scotch for around half or even a third of the price on the UK even tho its made there………go figure.
In regard to finding beer and ale ; Boddingtons is available in OK marts as well as wellcome for 75nt (1.59) at the moment and apparently in larger Wellcome stores Abbot Ale and Speckled Hen are available although I’m yet to see them. Sam Adams is still available in 7-11 and that is a fine American Lager for sure. Kronenberg Blanc is available in Carrefour in bottles also which is a very nice summer beer. Boddingtons is perhaps the most common English beer in Taipei being available everywhere from Roxy cafe (cans) to Carnegies to the gay part of Ximending and even Outback on Nanjing E road. On a more worrying note lesser poorer beers are starting to hit the market . More generic beers from China are being thrust upon us and given that many locals will buy on price alone or indeed if a semi hot slim beer girl is parading it in a local stir fry place. Then it’s perhaps inevitable that beers like Longchuan and now Nanjing beer will take place over better Japanese or Euro beers. Both of which are poor lagers heavily advertised at the moment. Advertising is an aspect of Taiwan culture that never ceases to amaze me. For a nation of relative non drinkers Whiskey ( perhaps more in in the winter ) and beer are constantly on in the break. Heineken and Taiwan beer seem to be the primary candidates but Kirin Ichiban, Tsingtao and Asahi also get their fair share of space. It is worth mentioning on a positive note that Black and dark beer have main great inroads into Taiwan. Brands like Kirin and Asahi making good black beers as well as Yebisu ( available in Matsusei) and even Taiwan Mine having a stab at the alternate market.
I guess being a foreigner in Taiwan sometimes gets me wishing for things that I had taken for granted in the UK. Alcohol is a prime example of one such thing. If Wetherspoons or even the Goose pubs opened up just one pub over here id be supping down the ale and drinking cheap Czech beer every day. Oh well you can’t have it all.


~ by richardpmurfin on May 17, 2011.

12 Responses to “The price of beer in Taiwan is terrible”

  1. I like your taste in beer, but to be honest I prefer cheap no nonsense local stuff, when boozing in Asia. How much is cheap local beer? I will be visiting for a week and will not be even considering the prices you quoted above. Cheers.

    • Depends if your in a restaurant or a pub. Pubs are badly priced but stir fry restaurants you can get nice local beer for cheap in 600ml bottles. 7-11s arent badly priced but you sound like you may eat out?
      Here is a rough guide ( using the cheap no nonsense ) :

      600ml Taiwan beer gold 7-11 : 55nt = 1.8 US$
      600ml Taiwan Beer gold restaurant : 80-100nt = 2.65-3.331US$
      Taiwan beer gold ( in pub ) 500ml – 200nt = 6.63 US$

      Euro and English Ales are a lot more in pubs + 7-11’s respectively.
      There are 3 Tw beers the gold is better than the standard. There is a draught version but it’s rarer and better.

      • Sorry I didnt know you were English :

        200nt is like 4pound 20 .
        55nt is like 1pound 20
        80 is like 1pound 70.

        Roughly heh. If you want the cheapest pint go for Taiwan beer or Carlsberg . I prefer Tw beer as I hate Cberg. Check out if they have deals tho. You can get boddingtons if your a bitter man . But no Tetleys ( only in Hong Kong Im afraid) . Dont drink Kaoulian the local spirit it tastes like cheap tequila but worse.

  2. Great advice, thanks. I don’t mind Carlsberg, as I live in Korea and there can’t be many worse beer countries in the world. I suppose your views on Henekein are similar to mine on Carlsberg. Everything in Taiwan seems comparable to Korea, except pub draught, which, going by your prices, is extortionate. As a volume man and travelling with another heavy drinker, we will take your guide pretty seriously. Cheers again.

  3. Great stuff. Thanks for all the help.

  4. Hi Richard. I can’t seem to find contact details for you. I am about to take a leap and move to Taiwan, at least for a few months and would like to teach in order to earn a living. If you could let me know the best way to contact you and ask a few questions that would be great! Mike

  5. You know, im just in the process of opening my own place with the view to selling a few british ales. I have the suppliers emails here right in front of me WITH the cost prices on.
    I have to say it makes pretty dismal reading and the western style pubs are truly not making that much on the english ales.

    I used to feel annoyed at the prices, but after looking into costs … they suddenly seem almost justifiable.

    Also, you think Taiwan is overpriced … a pint of the same will set you back 8quid in any bar in Japan.

    Independent businesses aren’t getting the same support as places like the chain supermarkets, a problem that has made many an independent small business in the UK go bust.

    • Yes, all my the man pubs in Taiwan ( including a friends pub) went bust. I don’t doubt the problem is higher up in the system, it is just annoying to someone who wants to enjoy a beer at a reasonable price. I basically only ever go to restaurants or seven eleven now and drink lager. If I ever want to drink ale it’s done on a special occasion . They do sell it at Carreffour now and again but it’s 109 nt for a London Pride in a can. Hardly competitive.

  6. I am Taiwanese. and i can tell you…

    The bar in Taiwan often sell the beer by a 2 Liter glass bottle,

    one bottle cost about 300NTDs~400NTDs..

    and the beer in the 2L bottle..? not Heineken(expect NOT!),

    not Carlsberg, but the beer from China or beer made in taiwan.

    Oettinger pilsner (500c.4.7%alc) cost you 39ntd in a Discount stores in taiwan,the taiwan beer(500c.c)?

    I doubt the quality of the ingredients of taiwan beer(barley,yeast ,hops,…) are equal to the ingredients of Oettinger beer!

    the it fresh?..or was it stored? do chinese and taiwanese store
    the barley right?(no barley grows in taiwan), you see…

    yet,i bought a pack(6*330ml) of local beer yesterday,
    which cost me 109nt(special price)!

    you can say my liver is at risk.

  7. So where did you buy Oettinger? That beer is quite good. Yes local beer is very cheap. I quite like Taiwan beer though. It is good with Chinese food. I also like Japanese beer with food ; Asahi and Kirin !

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