Paulaner – Germany’s original and No1 weissbier – is gaining increasing popularity in Cambodia as it offers the Kingdom’s beer lovers an alternative to the ubiquitous lager in the market.

With Christmas having seen the world-famous German beer now available in the country for one year, the anniversary has been marked with strong sales and optimism for 2021.

“Paulaner is only original imported German beer available in Cambodia, and the official beer of Bayern Munich FC, and we saw very quick growth in the Kingdom. We have continued to see strong sales despite the impacts of Covid-19 and the measures taken to combat its spread.

DKJ Co Ltd director Dirk Zylla. Photo supplied

“So we are super confident of hitting our target for this year, which is to sell 1,000 hectolitres,” said Dirk Zylla, director of DKJ Co Ltd, the official distributor of Paulaner in Cambodia, working with import partner CYCS Co Ltd.

With Cambodians consuming 6.1 million hectolitres of beer a year, which is 610 million litres – an average of 38.6 litres per year per person – this would represent a 0.1 per cent market share.

“We are happy to be a niche quality brand. You have your mass local lagers and the many craft beers available now, but we are priced between the two and offer a very different and authentic German experience,” said Zylla.

The German has worked closely with Paulaner in Germany for many years in traditional beer gardens.

He once managed the bar where the Mainz football players and coaching staff would meet, and still remains friends with the now Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp.

Steeped in the German beer tradition, Zylla saw a lack a quality imported beers in the Kingdom after relocating to Cambodia around a decade ago, and began working to establish Paulaner in the Kingdom.

“As well as Paulaner weissbier, which is now by far our most popular product, we also sell the Paulaner Hefe Weizen Dunkel dark beer, which is the next best seller, and the Paulaner Muncher Hell lager. So we cater to a range of beer drinkers,” he said.

Paulaner was established in 1634 in Munich, and the Bavarian brewery is one of the six that produces for the famous Oktoberfest, the city’s beer festival that dates back to 1810.

It is brewed using authentic ingredients and strictly adheres to the German purity laws – Reinheitsgebot – of 1516 that state only water, barley and hops can be used in the production of beer.

A different experience

Being a wheat beer – which have continuously been made in Bavaria dating back to the year 1040 – means the Paulaner weissbier offers a very different experience, something the brewery is proud of.

“At the first mouthful this weissbier classic has a mild aroma of banana. Finer palates detect a trace of mango and pineapple, and the balance between sweet and bitter.

Paulaner is the official beer of successful German football club Bayern Munich. Photo supplied

“Beer connoisseurs appreciate the fine note of yeast and the mild but sparkling mix of aromas. It is a typical beer-garden beer, which brings people together all over the world,” it says.

And Zylla says it is these flavour combinations that are making Paulaner such a hit in the Kingdom.

“We have seen impressive take-up, somewhat surprisingly among Cambodian women. It is not just a hit with Westerners, Cambodians also love it. With it being slightly sweeter and less sour, it suits the Cambodian palette.

“Sixty per cent of our sales are currently to bars and restaurants – with Paulaner is available at some of Phnom Penh’s most fashionable destinations, including Rukkha on Riverside, Samba Brazilian restaurants and Drum Bar in Tuol Kork.

“The other 40 per cent of sales is made up equally between home deliveries and the hotel sector.

“Famous international hotel chains in Cambodia, such as Sofitel and Raffles, choose Paulaner because of its quality and because it also a world famous international brand, one consumed in over 70 countries around the world,” said Zylla.

The Mainz native said Paulaner will soon be able to be enjoyed outside the capital.

“We are expanding outside Phnom Penh, into Siem Reap, Kampot and the islands. The goal for this year is to make Paulaner the key brand for upmarket bars, and international hotel brands and boutique hotels.

“We will continue to steadily grow the brand, as we know that the quality of the product speaks for itself.

“One day I would love to bring the full Bavarian drinking experience to Cambodia by opening an authentic Paulaner wirstshaus [German tavern]. That would be so cool!” said Zylla.