© KIM WON-JIN/AFP/Getty Images
Mike Pomranz
Updated August 15, 2016

North Korea may be run by a brutal dictator who isolates his nation from the rest of the world and greatly restricts his people’s freedoms, but at least the country finally has one thing going for it… a beer festival.

This past Friday, the rogue state took a respite from plotting the destruction of the United States to kick off the country’s first ever beer festival. The event, which is scheduled to last for about 20 days, took place on a floating restaurant on the Taedong River and fittingly featured Pyongyang’s own Taedonggang beer which is named after the waterway.

Reportedly over 800 people turned out for start of the festival, including a lucky 500 guests who were able to drink for free for the first two hours. Apparently beers weren’t too expensive after that, going for between 50 cents and $2.50, according to the Metro UK, though based on what we know about the North Korean economy, I’m not sure if that’s a good deal or, like, a month’s pay.

Regardless, the lucky folks who were allowed to speak to the media seemed happy. “Drinking beer like on this hot day is so refreshing. It can get rid of tiredness after a day’s work,” 34-year-old Song Myong Chol was quoted as saying by The Japanese Times. Meanwhile, CCTV+ quoted another local as saying, “This is world class beer. It is great. We have our leadership to thank for being able to drink to our hearts’ content today.” Um, I’d suggest not drinking that much, lest all that alcohol go to your head, you get a little loose-lipped about Dear Leader, and next thing you know you’re doing 20 years of hard labor. Now that would be a bad hangover.


Possibly in an attempt to get a less biased opinion, the Metro also heard from a German tourist who was allowed to attend the festival – though it’s possible beyond drinking some Taedonggang beer, he’d also been drinking some Kim Jong-un Kool-Aid. “The beer is fantastic, it tastes just like back home,” said Max Boller, “but because it’s hotter here, you just have to drink more.” Though to be fair, this is the opinion of a guy who thought it would be fun to take a vacation in North Korea.

[h/t Mashable]

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