Phuket is one of the few islands in the world to have its very own beer, sort of. Actually, Phuket Lager Beer, formally called Phuket Island Beer, is not really a Phuket beer. It is brewed in Pathum Thani, near Bangkok, under the supervision of the San Miguel Brewery, and is owned by Tropical Beverages International, a Bangkok-based corporation.
Furthermore, there is considerable hard feeling on Phuket Island and Thailand concerning the beer. In 2000, it was established under a different label and with a different owner, but in 2002, through various legal proceedings, the label and the ownership changed, and the original investors, many of whom lived on Phuket Island, lost everything.
Nevertheless, the beer represents Phuket Island well. The beer's logo features a Hornbill bird – which symbolizes purity, fertility and loyalty - set against a background of Cape Promthep, the southernmost place on the island.
Furthermore, the beer has what most consider a much more pleasing taste when compared to other Thai beers such as Chang and Singha. Its producer insists that the beer is brewed under the Reinheitsgebot, the German purity laws, and that neither additives or preservatives are involved in the process.
Jasmine rice is used to mellow out the usually harsh taste of Thai beers. It has received trade several awards for its excellence in competitions sponsored by trade and professional associations.
It is not produced in large quantity and in Thailand is generally served only in upscale hotels and bars. It cost more than twice the price of a Chang or Singha beer and more than a Heineken, making it a novelty or niche item.
It is now marketed in selected overseas locations, including places or establishments in the United States, the United Kingdom, Japan, Australia, Denmark, Spain, Singapore, Macao, and Hong Kong. Of course, its high price makes it a niche or novelty item in these locations, too.