The country is so poor it's people are boiling up grass to make soup, but according to this report from Reuters [hat tip Stash], North Korea is apparently now producing a quality beer from equipment snaffled from England.
Problem is, it's becoming too expensive for South Koreans to enjoy ("they used the best quality material without thinking of the production cost," says a South Korean distributor who no longer stocks North Korea's Taedonggang beer since it jumped 70% in price without warning) and most North Koreans don't drink beer. Says Jon Herskovitz at Reuters, they prefer "cheaper rice-based liquor that packs a big punch."
"They need to be able to drink more at the same price," said Choi Soo-young, an expert on the North at the South's Korea Institute for National Unification.
Choi said the brewery is a favourite project of the ruling communist party, whose members can afford beer and will make sure the factory receives all the ingredients it needs even though the North cannot produce enough food to feeds it 22 million people.
And despite being desperate for foreign currency, it's reportedly unlikely Taedonggang beer will ever replace North Korea's export of nuclear fearmongering as its main export.
The brewery has occasional trouble sealing bottles properly ... the glass it uses is fragile ... [and distributors have] had to print labels in the South and send bottles from China in order to package the beer for export.
Ranked by RateBeer as decidely average, Taedonggang is described as "a full-bodied lager a little on the sweet side, with a slightly bitter aftertaste."