Archive for the ‘Presidente beer’ Category
Sunday, August 7, 2005
After all running a beach-bar is part of our daily routine so we thought we would elaborate on the drinks theme just a little.
As everybody following our blog entries knows, we have had some quite entertaining experiences with the beer and soft-drink suppliers ‘Presidente’ and ‘Coca Cola’ over the years, but what about ‘the hard stuff’.
As we live slap bang in the middle of the Caribbean, it would be no great surprise to know that we are not only living on an island with a great sugar-growing legacy, but one that has a significant history of rum distilling too. The prime local producers are ‘Brugal’ and ‘Barceló’… both companies having their range of brands mainly differentiated by time allotted for ageing. Ignoring the very luxury end of the market, the best brand from Brugal is aptly named “Extra Viejo” meaning extra old and the top brand from Barceló is “Imperial”. We think the names do adequate justice to these two particular brands, although of course we stock all of the main Brugal and Barceló varieties… and if you think we wouldn’t cater for your own particular ‘extra luxury’ end interests, we can of course dig something out for that too – the universally known Bacardi and a little known highly recommended 15-year-old rum from Guatemala that goes by the name of Zacapa for example.
In spite of our island’s rum producing tradition the Dominican Republic, just like so many other countries of the world, is an ardent importer of the Scotch hard stuff. Our own experience tells us that Dewar’s and Johnnie Walker rank highly in popularity… especially the Black Label variety. However, a much cheaper option is imported Scotch but bottled in this country. By far the most popular brand of this type goes under the very improbable Scottish name of MacAlbert though, without any direct intent, it is the actual name of another well known dark horse in Australia – one that runs round race tracks that is!
We do not limit ourselves strictly to the Scotch type so kindly note that we have on hand the Irish varieties of Bushmills and the ever-popular Baileys not to mention the bourbon strain of whiskies led by Jack Daniels and as a welcome outsider Maker’s Mark – a gift to Playa Vista that was very kindly donated by one of our favorite Kentucky visitor’s who speaks largely of its virtues.
If your favorite tipple of the stronger stuff does not appear in this very brief list by all means pop by and check out if Playa Vista might just have what you are looking for… cheers!
Friday, July 22, 2005
As beer still is the mainstay of our Beach Bar business, and as a lot of this obviously very popular liquid has flowed under many an oral-tract bridge since our piece of January 25th, we thought we would offer a short update on the subject.
We tripped across a website, found under the not so very flattering name of ‘briansbelly.com’, clearly eager to focus attention on all kinds of beery things including picking out the world’s very best tasting beers… and if out of the list of 97 selected specialty beers Presidente pilsner did not come in first, it was certainly rated good enough to be better than all but two of the high caliber contestants by the 260 tasters. Not quite the best in the world but not far off we would still claim!
With exports growing at more than 20% per annum and the company receiving a special export award for their efforts last year handed directly over by the other Presidente in this country ‘Leonel Fernandez’, clearly there is a growing band of non-Dominicans who feel similarly.
We have observed two other beer facts. The first is that Presidente (the company that is) has brought out a “light” version which is proving to be very popular… and the second, that a very large brewing company from Brazil – reputedly the fifth largest in the world – called Ambev has arrived in the Dominican Republic reported by some to want to compete head on with Presidente. Rumor tells us they are making all sorts of attractive promotional offers to try and get into the market. As far as we are concerned they remain rumors, but in the last few weeks we are pleased to report that Presidente (the company that is) has supplied us with far more promotional items such as glasses and chairs for our bar than in the last four years put together with talk even of a whole new batch of umbrellas to pop up fairly soon… regular readers will remember of course how dear to our hearts is this subject. Coincidence or not? Competition is always healthy and we hope soon to be able to let our esteemed Playa Vista customers be the judges as to whom is going to win in the upcoming popularity-election between good old ‘Presidente’ and the new challenger ‘Ambev’.
Tuesday, January 25, 2005
First hand observation soon shows that good old-fashioned beer, even here in the exotic Caribbean, surprisingly is the most popular drink at the Playa Vista. For that matter it is probably so at any bar in any part of the Dominican Republic and it is the ‘Presidente’ brand produced since 1935 by Cerverceria Nacional Dominicana which wins the grand popularity prize. It is a pilsner type beer, comes for the most part in 355 and 650 cc green bottles and is produced at the central brewery just off the Avenida Independencia in Santo Domingo
We actually think it comes closer to the Carlsberg advertising slogan of a few years back ‘probably the world’s finest beer’ than even that fine Danish beer does. We have asked numerous imbibers over the years what they think of it, and almost without exception the response is extremely favorable. It appears to hit a beautiful middle ground seeming to have a little bit of everything that a beer should have without any one of the individual characteristics dominating. Namely: smell, froth, fizz, sweetness, crispy dryness and taste of hops. The alcohol content is a little above average, compared for example with standard North American beers, at 5% per volume but the real trump card is the near ice-cold temperature at which the beer is best served and it goes without saying this contrasts exquisitely with the usual high ambient temperatures that we enjoy in our corner of paradise. The locals often ask evocatively for their beer to be served ‘cenizada’ literally meaning ‘coated in ash’; used perhaps because Dominicans are so unfamiliar with the term ‘frosted’.
Although ‘Presidente’ is exceedingly popular we wouldn’t want you to think that there weren’t alternatives. The same beer company took over the ‘Bohemia’ label in 1983 and is making inroads into the ‘Presidente’ market although it has a long way to go to take over the ‘Presidente’ mantel. Bohemia is a little drier, a little flatter and less sweet but perfectly palatable having even won gold awards in Spain and Italy.
To round up the beer list we also serve Miller, Corona, Budweiser (the Anheuser-Busch variety), Heineken (recently back in supply after a lengthy lay-off) and two fine Belgian beers Leffe and Hoegaarden… all beers that can be found around the world. We trust that will also be true of Presidente in the years to come so that you may have the opportunity to try one for yourselves… that is if you, for some reason or other, can’t make it to the Playa Vista Beach Bar!
Saturday, May 22, 2004
HURRAH… was indeed the word on Monday last. The streets were full of purple flag-waving supporters of the new president-elect: Leonel Fernández. According to the official figures he easily passed the required 50% achieving a convincing 57.11% of the national vote and carrying a full 26 of the nation’s 29 provinces. Here in municipality number 226 of Boca Chica he also carried the day obtaining a close to national average of 53.56%.
Monday was announced as a public holiday and the people celebrated with equal verve, their relief that the uncertainties were all over and their hopeful expectations for the future. Unfortunately violence, though limited but always looming potentially ruinously, did rear its head in full down in Barahona where a total of 6 people ended up losing their lives for alleged politically motivated reasons. Happily in the rest of the country incidents were reported to be few and far between and none of any note whatsoever in Boca Chica where the jubilation flowed through the streets nearly all day long. People who had seemingly kept their colors hidden took them out of the closet in the upsurge of joy, while those who had supported the white party ditched their old white flags and surprisingly seemed to fully embrace the change to come.
We had the pleasure of visiting an important government institution in Santo Domingo the following day and observed that the atmosphere in general in the city was very upbeat although those employed in the institution itself are phlegmatically resigned to the fact they will have to seek new employment because a change of government in this country means a clearance of nearly all public employees too.
Speaking of presidential change, this week sees the change of the label on the bottle of the exceedingly popular and indisputably good Presidente beer. Cerveceria Nacional Dominicana, the makers of the beer, claim the new label to be fresher, more modern and more stylized which appears to be a fair claim. Not a bad formula for our new president to follow when he is finally, according to the Dominican constitution, sworn in three months from now. He is reportedly by now busy with his plans for a new four year period within which the popular slogan from the election-campaign: ‘Vuelve el Progreso’ (Return to Progress) hopefully will come true sooner rather than later… and we wish him all the best!
Meanwhile seven years later:
We now know that Fernandez will be giving way to somebody else in next year’s May election but coincidentally headline news in the Dominican Republic this week asks what has been gained from the RD$6 billion that has been distributed among the political parties in the past 12 years. At least less violence might be part of the answer to the question if nothing else.
Thursday, January 22, 2004
We know that many of you have followed the exciting (nudge nudge) ups and downs of our parasol sagas with keen interest and pleasingly we are now able to give you an even more encouraging update than the last time. It was as long ago as October that we last touched on the subject and we had left the matter on quite an upbeat; in that Budweiser were able to provide within 24 hours of agreement, 3 brand new parasols – unfortunately not 6 as promised – for covering the sunnier parts of our Terrazza. The almost immediate consequence of this action did not come in the form of 3 more parasols from Budweiser but, in true market competitive fashion, 6 from the main beer company here, namely ‘Presidente’, who seemingly were only spurred into action, in spite of promising us a minimum of 12 parasols some 2 years previously, when we raised the Budweiser flag. All well and good, for Presidente that is, but a slight technical difficulty remained: appropriate bases in which to insert said parasols were not so immediately forthcoming, in fact it has taken the currently favored beer company since then until now to find enough for us to put up 4 of their parasols that we had kept, not very market competitively, neatly and tidily wrapped up in plastic in our storeroom all this time waiting for the right bases to show up for the unveiling to take place.
So now as you walk by on the beach and look up at our bar and Terrazza you will see all 6 standing proudly announcing that we do indeed sell “probably the Americas’ finest beer”. We are looking forward however to how Budweiser or Coors or Guinness, for that matter, will respond and if they will keep the parasol supply rolling on and on in spite of Presidente’s belated comeback.
Meanwhile seven years later:
Not only has Presidente continued to hold sway with its parasols on the Boca Chica beach but it has also weathered the marketing storm from its competitors not only proving very successful with its Presidente Light variety but also owning the second most popular brand of beer in the Dominican Republic, that of Bohemia.