Czech brewers share expertise with Vietnam

In just a few weeks’ time, Vietnam will see the opening of its very first beer spa, where visitors can relax in a bath of beer – Czech-style lager beer made in a new brewery built by two Czech companies at a Vietnamese beach resort. One of those firms is Pivo Praha, whose Václav Potěšil. I first asked him whether this was the first commission of its kind in Vietnam:

“The first Czech brewery in Vietnam was built in 2001 by Ngo Hong Chuen, the honorary consul of the Czech Republic. Mr Chuen worked in the Czech Republic for about eight years. When he returned to Vietnam, he opened a Czech pub, which served Pilsner Urquell beer. After about six years he opened the first Vietnamese microbrewery in Ho Chi Minh City, producing Czech type of beer.”

So it is not the first brewery in Vietnam but as far as I know it is the first beer spa.

“That’s right. The first beer spa in Vietnam will open next month near Phan Thiet, directly on the beach. Beer is good not only for drinking but also for your skin and hair. There will be 13 beer baths in the beer spa there will be, ten wooden ones, two stone ones and one made of copper.”

Will these breweries that are already established in Vietnam and the one that is about to open have their own Vietnamese brewer?

“Yes. In 2001 we trained five Vietnamese brew-masters. A brew-master from the Czech Republic will come for the opening of the new brewery and he will stay for about two or three months.”

So he is going to teach the employees how to brew beer and the brewery will then have its own brew-masters.

“Yes, but we will go there once a year to check the quality. And the raw materials, hop, malt and yeast, will be from the Czech Republic...”

Is the beer made in Vietnam adjusted to suit Vietnamese tastes? Is it different in any way?

“I think it’s possible to say that it is Czech or Pilsner type of beer. It’s has a bitter taste. It is a different type than most of the beers available on the Vietnamese market.”

Why do you think it is so popular in Vietnam?

“Because many Vietnamese people visited the Czech Republic or worked in the country and Czech beer is very popular in Vietnam. Every second Vietnamese knows Czech Republic and Czech beer.”