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Praise for former Wiltshire brewery rebuilt in North Korea

The North Korean regime has praised a former Wiltshire brewery which was shipped to the country and rebuilt more than 20 years ago.

The former Usher’s brewery, which was originally based in Trowbridge and reopened in the North Korean capital of Pyongyang as the Taedonggang Beer Factory, has been commended for its assistance in the country’s five year plan for national economic development.

The brewery was a specialist in producing local and regional bitters until the decline of the regional brewers in the 1980s, and in the 1990s following the 1989 Beer Orders with the further fall and sell-off of smaller local breweries, it eventually closed.

In an incredible turn of events, the North Korean regime became the top bidder for the brewery site, after a failed buy-out in 2000. It was purchased for £1.5m and deconstructed before being shipped to Pyongyang to be rebuilt.

A detailed history of the events can be read in full here. One memorable element of the story is that the sale could only go ahead after assurances to the UK Government that the brewery machinery couldn’t be used to create chemical weapons.

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According to The Telegraph, Gary Todd, who was the head brewer at the factory until it shut, trained the delegation of North Koreans on how to make the beer over the course of several months.

He said: “I had to effectively give them the crash course in brewing and we spent a lot of time going over the basics, but it seems that they got it because they are up and running there now.”

In addition, Todd, who tasted the beer when journalist Simon Usborne gave him a bottle, said he was “pleasantly surprised” by the flavour and it was “quite nice’, as he wasn’t sure what they were using for brewing materials.

The brewery’s beers have an ABV of 5.7% and it is understood that Kim Jong-il’s son, the current leader Kim Jong-un, is a keen supporter of the factory, which is located on the Taedong River.

Jong-un has visited the brewery on many occasions to ‘encourage its officials’ to improve the beer and ‘exalt the hour of the factory as one popular among the people’, The Telegraph said.

Related news:

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Kim Jong-un drinks fine wine ‘like a fish’, claims regime insider

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