The Beer Festival North Korea Hosted In 2016

When it comes to tourism, one of the last places to likely cross your mind is North Korea. Few people in the Western world know much about the country. However, around 6,000 people do make the trip inside North Korea's borders each year, according to Globotreks. U.S. citizens used to make up a portion of those travelers, but a 2017 ban was enacted prohibiting citizens to travel to North Korea. Currently, only a few special exemptions allow a U.S. citizen to enter the country, including being a publicly reporting journalist or representative of the Red Cross. 

That being said, you may be thinking, why would anyone make the trip to a mysterious country? Well, certain attractions like the Demilitarized Zone (DMZ), Pyongyang's metro, and even a water park are suggested on Tripadvisor. Certain monuments, like the Mansudae Hill Grand Monument, also make the list. For one summer in 2016, however, beer was also an answer to that question.

Pyongyang's only beer festival

According to Atlas Obscura, the Taedonggang Brewing Company is an English brewery that wound up in North Korea. Kim Jong Il sent a team of North Koreans to Britain to search for a new brewery to purchase. For a whopping 1.5 million pounds, the country purchased the Ushers of Trowbridge Brewery and rebuilt it in East Pyongyang. The team studied with the English brewmaster to acquire his knowledge, and the renamed Taedonggang Brewing Company is considered one of the best in all of Asia, according to the outlet.

From August 15 to September 9, 2016, the Taedonggang Brewing Company hosted its first event that commenced on the country's "Liberation Day." Atlas Obscura says the festival attracted 45,000 visitors.

Rocky Road Travel describes the scenery and notes that the festival was set up on the banks of the Taedong river, which runs in the center of the capital city. It had a German feel with the smell of grilling sausages wafting through the air and people carrying large stein glasses. There were also live performances. The travel company noted that attendees could sit in the beer garden, ride the floating restaurant, or drink at standing-only tables overlooking the Juche Tower.

However, this event never resurfaced. Atlas Obscura says it was canceled the following year with no explanation and has not yet made a comeback.