Cathay Pacific's Betsy Beer is brewed with high altitude drinking in mind.

By Mike Pomranz
Updated May 24, 2017
betsy beer cathay pacific planes bar
Credit: Courtesy of Cathay Pacific

In this day and age of special release limited-edition brews, drinkers are used to going out of their way to try unique beers. Still, throwing down a thousand dollars for a flight from Cathay Pacific’s home base of Hong Kong to a destination in the UK just to try the airline’s exclusive in-flight beer would probably be a bit excessive by almost anyone’s standards. So good news: Cathay Pacific’s Betsy Beer – billed as the first beer ever specifically designed to taste better on a plane – is coming to a lot more flight routes over the rest of the year.

The Asian airline originally introduced Betsy Beer – which takes its somewhat unexpected name from the company’s first aircraft – this past February. The concept was straightforward: Cabin pressure at 35,000 feet affects our taste buds, but though airlines account for this loss of flavor in their food, no one had ever specifically addressed the issue in a beer. Brewed with New Territories honey, Chinese longan fruit, and the aromatic British hop, Fuggle, this fruity, floral and sweet beer was intended to taste better at high altitude. But for people who wanted to give the brew a try a mile in the sky, the options were limited: It was originally only available on select routes from Hong Kong to the UK.

However, yesterday, Cathay Pacific announced that since Betsy Beer has been “exceptionally well received,” the airline will be rolling it out on a lot more routes. The beer “will be served to First and Business Class passengers onboard all flights between Hong Kong and Europe (except the United Kingdom) throughout May and June; on services to and from Canada and the United States during July and August; on flights to and from Japan between September and October; and on services to and from New Zealand and Tel Aviv throughout November and December.” Granted, since the beer is rotating around, you’ll have to make sure your travel coincides with Betsy’s schedule – but that’s fine: Just tell you friends getting married in Tel Aviv to postpone that thing until November.

Of course, the easiest thing to do would be to try Betsy Beer on the ground, and Cathay Pacific reminds us you can: “In addition to designated Cathay Pacific flights, Betsy Beer will be available at selected Hong Kong restaurants and bars … while stocks last. It will also be available for online purchase within Hong Kong through Deli Delight –” The only problem: If the beer truly is built for the skies, shouldn’t it taste terrible on the ground? I guess there’s only one way to find out…