Monday, October 3, 2016

WEEK 87--BEING GEEK IN KL--a back dated post

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.
这里酒精类别饮料的确比其他城市贵。不过,相比在吉隆坡餐厅或夜店酒吧喝大厂啤酒,CRAFT BEER价钱蛮划算,理由很简单,喝两杯CRAFT胜过喝一打单调无趣大厂啤。
#大马酒类饮料非官方统计饮客人数至少几百万,为什么喝CRAFT BEER的那么少?

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?
新加坡明显的投入CRAFT BEER进口业务人数较多,意味着市场货源供应比较丰富,近两年开专卖吧业者逐步增加中,更多饮客有机会接触到不同类别品牌啤酒让市场热络起来,新加坡也是可以合法玩自酿的城市,更有不少CRAFT相关活动提高能见度话题性,市场活跃是正常。
北部的曼谷,相比新加坡并没有那么多不同入口商,不过,曼谷的CRAFT BEER市场很精彩。很大程度来说,曼谷的市场活力来自两大入口商,一是主攻美国啤酒的BEERVANA,另一则是不断冲击市场好奇心,逐步引入独家啤酒的“米吧”幕后功臣HOPSESSION。如果说新加坡市场活力源自各个不同群体的共同力量,曼谷的市场能量则很大程度上来自一两个入口商对啤酒的狂热痴迷。
#在吉隆坡喝CRAFT BEER有那么差?
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.
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。
说不准,或者这么说,每件让人狂热的事情有时候只是个过程,也有可能是无穷尽的延续,有人说迷上CRAFT BEER就是一头栽进黑洞里,没完没了。是不是那样,只能说走着瞧,各人自有不同体会。
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? 

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