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A wheely good idea: Taipei’s mobile craft beer shop

An enterprising beer fan in Taipei’s Ximending district has set up a mobile beer shop on a tricycle in response to the city’s growing number of craft beer enthusiasts.

Leben Hsieh and his beloved Beer Cargo © Dana Ter, Taipei Times

As reported by Taipei Times, Leben Hsieh has taken it upon himself to sell craft beer from his tricycle which he diligently cycles around everyday, charging NT$160-NT$190 (HK$40-HK$47) per glass or NT$190-NT$220 (HK$47-HK$54) for a big glass to Taipei’s fellow thirsty craft beer lovers.

Calling his frothing business Beer Cargo, Hsieh said he had visited Tokyo and saw a Tokyo Beer Porter Volkswagen driving around Shibuya District at night selling beer. He did more research online and found that other cargo bike breweries were doing the same thing in Australia, and so came up with the idea of Beer Cargo in April this year.

Hsieh keeps two craft beers on tap – a choice between a local and an imported brand. At the time of writing, the options were Coffee Amber from Jim & Dad’s Brewing in Yilan and a Copper Cone Pale Ale from Epic Brewing in Salt Lake City.

His taste for beer came when he used to work in a department store in Taipei a few years ago and go out after work with his colleagues to various bars. From this, he grew to like different expressions of beer, including wheat ale, IPA and stout. His favourite beer now is Mikkeller’s IPA where he has lovingly stuck Mikkeller stickers all over his cart.

When he first set up Beer Cargo, he said potential customers were confused with the idea that he only sold beer and would ask for iced coffee instead – or grumble about the price. But now he said the consumer tastes are changing and interest in craft beer is becoming more widespread.

“These are people who used to go to 7-Eleven to buy a can of Taiwan Beer,” he said. “They used to ask, why does your beer cost more than NT$200? But now they’re glad for another option.”

Inside the tricycle, Hsieh has squirreled away various helpful objets which helps him with his business: a can opener, a book on Taiwanese slang and name cards he collects from customers, including one from the owner of London’s Beavertown Brewery who just happened to be walking past Hsieh’s tricycle during his holiday in Taiwan.

“My girlfriend says that when I’m on the road, my tricycle is like my house,” said Hsieh.

Follow Hsieh on Instagram: @beercargo.


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