This is actually an "old" piece written in April before CBC trip--a sort of "self-interview" on some issues of being a Geek in craft desert here in KL.
Though this is essentially talking about the scenario of a Geek in KL--but the feelings quite similar to geeks living in other parts of Asia.here we go:-
Q: Malaysia has got one of the highest sin taxes for alcohol beverages--making it expensive to drink imported beer doesn't it?(under the current adjusted structure--imported beers are facing a tax of RM175(USD 40+) per 1litre for every 100%ABV---and there's another 6% GST to pay basing on price)
A: Yes and No---it's even more "expensive" to drink MACRO beers at some clubs or hangout places or restaurant in town than a craft beer--it's always more satisfying drinking say 2 glasses/bottles of nice craft beer than a dozen or more crappy MACRO...
Q:There's at least a few million drinkers in Malaysia--but why so few craft beer drinkers?A:There's only a few people involved in importing of craft beer/operating of dedicated bars/bottle shop( essentially there's 3 to 4 craft beer bars+ 1 or 2 bottle shop in KL)--meaning the craft community in Malaysia is very small--with little power/voices fighting the MACRO/other alcoholic beverages for bigger market share--it is understandable that the community is still very very small here in KL.
本地投入CRAFT BEER进口业务，开专卖吧或瓶子店的人很少，市场供应量少加上没什么推广力量/声音意味着很多人不知道，也没机会接触到这些啤酒。CRAFT BEER在全世界还是小圈子玩意，在大马这个撞意啤酒沙漠就更加不出奇。
Q:In comparison to Bangkok up north( 2 hours flight) and Spore down south(1 hour flight)--why KL is still so much a craft beer desert?
A:There's no doubt a lot more craft beer importers/operators in Spore--where it is also Legally permitted to home brew/open up brew pub--recently there's even a sort of jumping on the craft beer bandwagon situation where more people are trying to invest/get involve with the scene.
Up north in Bangkok--there's lesser importers as compared to Spore--but thanks largely to 2 main importing company which brought in some awesome US/European beers--in particular the Geeky "Mikkeller Bar" BKK--the BKK scene has attracted lots of attention from Geeks in and around the region. And with the rise of home brewing--even opening of a few Thai Brew only bars around BKK( though legally it's not permitted to home or small brew)--the scene is hotting up there for sure.
Q:Are you accusing the KL craft operators NOT GEEKY enough?
A:Yes--to a certain extent that's what it felt like. It is true being in business and being a drinker/geek is VERY different--that is a fact that is obvious to anyone who understand the pressure of running a business--what with the unfriendly environment/policy facing the KL craft operators.
What i have felt all this while is that--business aside--a true geek would seek out beers not available in his/her own bar/line of imports--just for own consumption or tasting/sharing with friends.
It is a known fact that some breweries are hard to get supply from--especially those big names/rarer variants of beers.
But the fact remain that---when inevitably craft operators are being look up to by most newbies/drinkers to lead them on eventual palate development (since they are the regular point of contact)-how can an operator lead the way when he or she is just very happy/contented to sell what's available rather than go the geeky way of seeking out harder to get beers for tasting/own drinking pleasure?
Q: IS drinking craft beer in KL that unsatisfying?
A: NOPE---don't get me wrong--anyone in KL craft community should be THANKFUL/GRATEFUL that there's a few guys out there invested time/efforts & money to import/run a bar/bottle shop--remember--if no one started--then a lot of craft drinkers would not have the chance to start---that's a fact and everyone should know that.
From a Geek point of view--yes--surely there's a lot of room for KL to improve--and it's also only natural--that a geek would have higher request for better selection/varieties.
Q:Why there's not many who invested/involve with craft beer business?
A: This is not a fast returning business--with high taxes--lower margins--and more importantly this is not a business where owner can just bring in some beers--hire a few good looking guys/girls to promote and then the business would fly on it's own--craft beer is something where passion is needed--and most importantly newbies need the right kind of guidance from operators.#为什么马来西亚业者不多？
税务高是个问题，也有些人觉得CRAFT BEER利润低，不那么容易做。这其实不是进些货就能做好的生意，也不是请几个俊男美女促销员就能解决的事。这门生意是需要业者本身还有主要员工对CRAFT BEER的热爱和认识，只有这样才能跟顾客有良好沟通互动，某些程度上，业者是需要引领新饮客的。
Q: Is being a Geek in Malaysia a painful matter?
A: Not really--it's bearable--when something is not available locally--one can always seek out when travelling--or ask for help from beer friends overseas--or just go on some website to buy--when you want something badly enough--there's always a way
Q:Being a GEEK---Is there an end in sight?A: Hard to say really--it could be just a process--or it could really be diving into a black hole--the choice is yours.
Though this piece might sound like picking on KL craft scene or being harsh/unfair to the operators putting in real efforts in moving the craft culture--but it's not what this piece intended at all--nope--far from it--it's more of a common feeling Geeks living in Asia been facing--and as the saying goes--it's only when one hope for the better that one would say something not too pleasant to the ears--otherwise---why bother?