International Spins and Suds – The Philippines

Data analytics are the underbelly of a vast and often unseen world of information that contribute to the surface levels of life. For example, a few clicks on Google Analytics one morning showed a huge spike in readership in the Philippines. Nothing on Thirsty Vinyl is specific to the Philippines yet people on the opposite side of Earth are now tuning into the site. This welcome surprise sparked an idea – to create a new space devoted to the global community of vinyl and craft beer lovers. Naturally, this series is titled, International Spins and Suds, which starts today with the Philippines.

According to Euromonitor International, beer consumption in Southeast Asia is booming. While growth in the Philippines is less than in neighboring countries like Vietnam, Thailand and China, the trend is still positive and encouraging. If the momentum continues, perhaps the multigenerational stronghold of repugnant rice wine, which dominates most SE Asian countries, like Filipino Pangasi, will take a backseat to a different fermentation called beer.

Despite logistical problems that hinder growth potential and operations, and a population still becoming more accustomed to and educated on craft beer, the Philippines already have several notable breweries, such as Birdie Num Num Tropical Brewery, Crazy Carabao Beer Company, Turning Wheels Craft Brewery, Elias Wicked Ales & Spirits, and Engkanto Brewery. The number of breweries and quality of craft beer now available in the country are a welcome change after a century of enduring only one beer, San Miguel. Learn firsthand how Engkanto’s founder, Ian Paradies is helping to change the narrative.

Another relatively new brewery in the Philippines has perfected the art of pairing culinary delights with craft beers to match. Check out Baguio Craft Brewery via this short film and interview with its founders.

As for Filipino music, I have two points of reference – traditional folk music and cover bands. Starting with the latter, years ago when I lived in China and had the opportunity to travel throughout most of SE Asia, I used to think seeing amazing Filipino cover bands in every country and bar I visited was a random occurrence, but now I realize that one of the Philippines most lucrative exports is its musicians. The late Anthony Bourdain did a piece on the topic in a Parts Unknown segment seen below.

As for traditional folk music, I was fortunate earlier this summer to stumble across two Philippine folk music vinyl records in my local Goodwill store. I was deep into following my own advice from A Shortcut to Owning Your Own Record Store by only searching for international music to ramp up that part of my record collection. The albums I found were in great shape and true gems and are now regulars in the rotation when chilling at home with the wife and kids.

In an effort to expand our knowledge about Filipino music worth checking out, I’d be curious to know if there are any “must have” Philippine albums that exist. Consider that a call to action for Thirsty Vinyl’s new following from our friends in the Philippines. Feel free to leave a comment and inform our blossoming international community.


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