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33 Beer


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Because the beer is 33 cl (centi litre). Why 333? Because it is 333 ml (milli litre). I know it should be 330 ml but they named this way.
I'm unpersuaded by this explanation, although I have read it elsewhere. Not that I have a competing explanation.

"33" Export was originally a French beer exported to her colonies, and is still brewed in France by a Heineken subsidiary. You used to be able to get the French version in the US, but I haven't seen it in decades. The Vietnamese change to "333", according to several websites, happened in 1975, a year of obvious significance. I wonder if there wasn't some trademark dispute, although it must have been resolved, since the Vietnamese product is sold as "33" in the US. Presumably the producer pays a royalty of some sort to Heineken, since they are not among the hundreds of Heineken subsidiaries.

On the subject of the Cleveland Park restaurant, they used to do free delivery, but there's no mention of it on their website, so I guess they don't anymore. A pity. I always really liked their "Vietnamese Wonton Soup". I had lunch there with work colleagues about ten years ago, and one of them got a big dose of hot pepper in his eye.

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I'm unpersuaded by this explanation, although I have read it elsewhere. Not that I have a competing explanation.
I wonder if this is some sort of cultural misunderstanding by the French as 88 is a lucky number in Chinese, pronounced ba ba. Meanwhile in Vietnamese, ba ba is 33. Perhaps the way "gook" (as in Mee gook - American) was misunderstood in Korea by the GIs.
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I wonder if this is some sort of cultural misunderstanding by the French as 88 is a lucky number in Chinese, pronounced ba ba. Meanwhile in Vietnamese, ba ba is 33. Perhaps the way "gook" (as in Mee gook - American) was misunderstood in Korea by the GIs.
That's very interesting, but I think the French beer was called "33" before Vietnam entered the picture. I've been trying very hard to hunt this down via Google, and I'm frustrated at nearly every turn. And then there's the supposedly mysterious "33" on Rolling Rock bottles. How does that tie in?
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That's very interesting, but I think the French beer was called "33" before Vietnam entered the picture. I've been trying very hard to hunt this down via Google, and I'm frustrated at nearly every turn. And then there's the supposedly mysterious "33" on Rolling Rock bottles. How does that tie in?
From Michael Jackson, the beer dude
MJ: A Paris company developed this beer for the French Colonial markets after World War II. It was brewed in several countries, including French Indochina (later Vietnam), and is still made in Ho Chi Min City. Despite its Parisian origin, it was not marketed in France until 1960. It has since been widely available there. It is a mainstream lager, not at all a strong-tasting beer, though it has more flavour than some U.S. mass-market products. Today, "33" is one of several beers made in French breweries owned by Heineken, of The Netherlands. It is unlikely to be imported into markets where it would compete with Heineken, and - perhaps for that reason - is not available in the U.S. According to the 1993 French book Les Bieres du Monde, by Gilbert Delos, the name originates from the beer having been in 33-centilitre bottles at a time when 65cl packaging was more common. The parent company's registered offices in Paris were at number 33 Avenue de Wagram, but that seems to have been a coincidence.
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origins aside, this stuff was among the "most foul beers ever" category when I last had it a few years ago at the Brickskeller. Hopefully it was just the transport that ruined it. But I'm not risking it again until I'm in Vietnam.

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From Michael Jackson, the beer dude
Again, very interesting, and there is no more authoritative voice on the subject of beer than the late, and lamented, Michael Jackson. So what you quote from him is probably correct, but it certainly contradicts a lot of what I've found on the world wide web, which says the beer originated in France in 1893, and acquired the name "33" around the turn of the century (presumably meaning around 1900). Such as here: clicketyclack, text which I find duplicated all over the place. Once upon a time it was nearly impossible to look anything up without going to a library. Now you can look everything up and get a marvelous array of different answers, all in the comfort of your own home!
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origins aside, this stuff was among the "most foul beers ever" category when I last had it a few years ago at the Brickskeller. Hopefully it was just the transport that ruined it. But I'm not risking it again until I'm in Vietnam.
To get to the actual beer itself, then: I've never had any beer of this name, "33", either from France or from Vietnam, which was worth drinking. I doubt it's worth drinking in either France or Vietnam, although one can always hope.
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