Wine and spirits options for Expats
Wine is not very popular in Thailand. It is heavily taxed and therefore very expensive. However, the opportunities to buy wine in the city are growing and there are now specialist wine stores throughout. Three of the most popular include:
- Wine Connection, Nana Square, Sukhumvit Road; Thong Lor Soi 10 and 37th Floor Sofitel Silom. Website: http://www.wineconnection.co.th
- Wine Gallery, 5th floor Emporium
- Gourmet Wine Cellar, Ground Floor, Siam Paragon Centre
Besides these stores, there are also the Foodland and Villa Market stores. The Villa Market store in Sukhumvit Soi 33 is known to have a decent selection.
Wine is grown in Thailand, although it is still classed as a luxury good and therefore taxed as highly as imported wines. Monsoon Valley is the most popular Thai wine, although it does not yet match the quality of foreign wine from Australia, Italy, France or South America. It can be bought in supermarkets and wine shops throughout the city.
Wine is really only consumed by high society Thais who may have experience with drinking wine from studies and travels abroad. They have in turn brought it back with them to one of the several wine bars around town. You can find more information on wine bars in the Nightlife section. but in particular, the V9 wine bar on the 39’th floor of the Silom Sofitel is a good place to enjoy a good glass of wine with a great skyline view. Keep in mind that the price reflects the surroundings.
Beer is popular in Thailand, almost as much as Whisky and Thailand has several breweries offering different types of beer. The most popular brands are Heineken (brewed locally), Singha, Chang and Leo. Heineken is a popular choice as its light and refreshing taste is well suited for tropical nights. Singha is the biggest local brand in Thailand and is popular with both Thais and foreigners. The beer is around 6% in strength and has a well balanced taste. Chang is the most popular choice with working class Thais mostly due to price and alchohol percentage. Leo is a beer brewed by Singha aimed at foreigners who prefer lighter lager/pilsner like beers. In addition to these brands, other import beers are sometimes found, including Tiger and San Miguel.
Whisky is the Thai national drink and is ingrained in Thai culture and leisure life. It’s normal to order a bottle of Whisky when out at night to share with friends and whomever is at your table – usually mixed with Cola and Tonic Water. The most popular brand is Johnny Walker and you’ll see the brand logo in all sizes and shapes at many nightlife venues. There are several local Thai rice whiskies available, notably Sang Som and Mehkong, a steady staple of many working class Thais. Most foreigners will probably not enjoy either, but it is drinkable mixed with soft drinks!