Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Carlsberg - Probably the Best Beer in the World

On October 07, I wrote about Malaysia hiking up excise duties on tobacco products – as a way to finance a debt-ridden national economy. Usually, it is either tobacco or alcohol or worse, both product categories that will get this special treatment. So I did not bat an eyelid when I read this news on the Net from Russia today. Supposedly, the Russian Ministry of Finance is contemplating to increase the excise duty on beer by 200 percent, purportedly to bring in an extra 65 billion roubles ($2.25 billion) of revenue next year to plug the budget deficit of the recession-hit Russian economy. Obviously this has sparked real concern to Carlsberg that Joergen Rasmussen, chief executive of the Danish brewer himself had to flag that this brazen plan could cost the country 100,000 jobs and may even prompt the company to shutter factories. Carlsberg owns Baltika, and it is by far, the largest brewer in Russia with some 40 percent of the market. As a beer company, they would expect to be at the receiving end, and so tax hikes are pretty much expected. In the markets where this brewer operates, the average duty increase usually amounts to 5-10 percent, sometimes even 20 or 30 percent, but 200 percent is really exorbitantly steep.

Sometimes, I wonder what the world is coming to. Why are government bureaucrats such wet blankets that they target and penalize the one product that is probably the world’s best form of simple enjoyment? Yep, you got it, beer. Because if you ask me, a good beer is indeed, one of life’s greatest pleasures. There is an Egyptian proverb that I remember that says “The mouth of a perfectly happy man is filled with beer”. How very true! There’s nothing like sipping (okay, some of you don’t sip, but quaff) ice-cold beer, whether in the company of friends or by yourself, whether in a pub, coffee-shop, or at home. And admittedly, Carlsberg is the beer many of us can identify with. What’s more, for us who are Liverpool fans, there is no other beer than Carlsberg! Honest, it is probably the world’s best beer for football occasions. So, I am now using Alan Tan's notebook and posting my take on my favorite beer, and at the same time, drinking ice-cold beer that can only be Carlsberg. My mind lights up. With Carlsberg, there is clarity, y’see. I recall a Homer Simpson quote: “I’m gonna drink lots of beer and stay out all night”. Cheers!

No comments: