Lhasa Beer, the only Tibetan beer available, has global aspirations and wants to take its brew to pubs and people around the world.
Though Tibet is not the first region that comes to mind when you think about beer, the Lhasa Brewery Company said that it hopes to export its beer to other countries in Southeast Asia, as well as new markets in the U.S. and Europe in the future.
Sold in cans and bottles under the slogan, “Beer from the roof of the world,” the beverage uses mainly Himalayan spring water, barley and yeast as ingredients. Around 30 percent of the malt content is derived from the huskless native Tibetan barley.
The area around the town of Gyantse in southern Tibet is known as the homeland of green barley, and produces a high yield of the crop.
“Altogether, beer production reached 140,000 tons last year, which is an increase of 10 percent to 12 percent year on year,” said Norbu Tsering, General Manager of Tiandi Green Beverage Dev’t Company, the company that distributes the beer.
“We are selling the beer not only in Tibet, but also to other major cities across China.”
The barley agricultural and brewery industry have also been helping to boost the local economy. With the region’s economic growth at 12 percent topping China’s GDP growth at just 7.4 percent in 2014, the region’s economy remains as one of the fastest growing areas in the country.
The company’s revenue also reached 197 million yuan, a 5.26 percent increase year on year.
Jeff Walters of Boston Consulting Group, believes that the beer has a sparkling future ahead.
“It would certainly stand out on the shelf outside of China. And my understanding is that the beer is brewed at the highest altitude, and so if we look at other parts of the world and what’s going on with their beer, like at the U.S. for example, craft beers and small beers is a very important part of that market,” he said. “There could be some interesting potential there.”