Friday, October 02, 2009

Lhasa Beer

I noticed a display in our local Whole Foods store for a new beer: Lhasa Beer.

Made in Lhasa, Tibet and claiming to plugh back 10% of profits to benefit Tibetans, I was initially highly sceptical. I suspected a clever marketing ploy from a Chinese-owned brewery (probably not even in Tibet)...

However, after looking at their website, it looks like they are the real deal. Their brewery is actually in Lhasa. 72% of their employees are ethnic Tibetans (52% are women). They are co-owned by Danish company Carlsberg. They have links to NGOs that operate in Tibet.

It looks like people are divided on whether to buy Lhasa Beer:

It's highly likely that the Chinese government own a portion of the Lhasa Brewery (why else would they allow it to operate?), and the cheaper alcohol that would logically be produced by a large Lhasa-based brewery is likely to have an impact on the level of alcoholism in Tibet...

I guess I will have to think about this some more.

1 comment:

J said...

The Chinese government has no ownership in the brewery. The Chinese half is publicly traded on the Shen Zhen stock exchange.

Alcoholism is a problem everywhere, not just in Tibet. They have had an alcohol problem there for centuries, not just the last 20 years. The same is true for England, France, Japan, or anywhere else except Islamic countries which have a different and some would consider larger set of problems.

The biggest causative factors to alcoholism are: 1) a genetic predisposition to addiction and 2) the despair arising from negative personal and societal circumstances.

The wholly independent US based company is currently supporting 35 people in Tibet.