Friday, February 5, 2016

Biere Larue - QLVNCH Quân Tiếp Vụ

Republic of Vietnam soldiers enjoying a meal with bottles of Biere Larue,
1960s, RVNHS Archive.

              In the spirit of the celebrations for the upcoming lunar new year, we wanted to create a post on the most common beer that was available to soldiers of the Republic of Vietnam. Biere Larue (often as referred to as "con cọp" or "tiger" beer) was brewed by the Brasseries et Placieres de L'Indochine Brewery. This brewery was founded in 1909 by the Frenchman Victor Larue, for whom the beer gets its name. Biere Larue along with 33 were the two most common beers in the Republic of Vietnam. Both were rice based, but between 1955 to 1975 the production and distribution of Biere Larue was much greater than that of 33. Biere Larue also most often came in one liter bottles (1000 ml), while 33 was in twelve ounce bottles (350 ml).

Republic of Vietnam soldiers drinking a toast with glasses of Biere Laure,
1960s, RVNHS Archive.

A one liter bottle of Biere Larue, 1960s-70s, RVNHS Archive.

          Unlike 33, Biere Larue was brewed in special batches specifically to be made available to Republic of Vietnam Armed Forces personnel at military commissaries. The bottling for these batches was devoid of the tiger logo and Biere Larue name. Instead, it was replaced by a Republic of Vietnam Armed Forces crest on the front and the national colors on the back. However, the name of the brewery was still imprinted along the base. These bottles were sometimes referred to in the vernacular as "Quân Tiếp Vụ" beer, which roughly translates as "military issue" or "armed forces department" - the phrase that was often labeled on goods provided to soldiers by the military commissaries. Today, Biere Larue is brewed in Vietnam by a subsidiary of Heineken.

A one liter bottle of Biere Larue especially made for the military, 1960s-70s, RVNHS Archive.

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