Praya Bhirom Bhakdi
The Founder - Praya Bhirom Bhakdi
Story through Art
Story-telling through Mural Art
Hanuman Biting an Arrow
Hanuman Biting and Arrow - Boon Rawd Brewery's Logo
Old Photographs
Stories through old Photographs
Singha Magazine
Singha Magazine (in Thai only)

 

 

 
The One and Only Siamese Beer Singha Old Label
Bottle of Singha
Click on the Garuda and the Singha logos to find out more about them.

Siamese people have enjoyed the taste of beer for a long time, but they were all imported beers, which saw a steep rise in 1920s. There was really no one bold enough to think about brewing beer in Siam, a hot and humid country, until one man tasted it at a local German store, and boldly asked whether beer could be produced in Siam. The response was, "It depends on the water and taxation."

Praya Bhirom Bhakdi, an aristocratic entrepreneur was already a very successful businessman in his growing ferry business. He was also a well travelled man for his time, having already been to China, Japan, Singapore, India, Indonesia and Europe including England. His travels opened his eyes to new worlds and new opportunities. Soon, his next business venture would be a very large undertaking, that of brewing the first beer that Siamese could call their own.

With the government's plans to build the first bridge crossing the Chao Praya River, in commemoration of Bangkok's 150th anniversary in 1929, more bridges would sure to follow, lessening the needs for the public to use the ferry to cross the river. Forseeing this problem, and excited with starting a new business, Praya Bhirom Bhakdi went full steam ahead. He was 60 years old, the age when most people retired, but not him, a man with so much energy, he could not just stay still. His relentless pursuit during the time of great changes in Siam, notably the Revolution of 1932 that would change the way of living in this small Southeast Asian Kingdom, would prove rewarding for him and his descendants. With permission of His Majesty King Prajadhipok, the Praya travelled to Europe in 1932 to secure a builder for his dream brewery. Boon Rawd Brewery Co., Ltd was set up on 4 August 1933. The first bottles of Siamese beers rolled off the production lines and first served to the much anticipated public on 6 July 1934. There were 3 brands in the beginning, with 3 different liquids, namely Golden Kite Beer, Singha Beer and Stupa Beer. Soon, the general public would choose their beer, SINGHA, as their favourite, which is continued to be produced to this day, and is currently Thailand's leading exported beer.

Old Siamese Beers

Other Siamese beers, produced by Boon Rawd Brewery included a Singha Pilsner, the seasonal Songkran Beer, a Special dark beer, the Golden Kite Beer, Bear Lager Beer and Key Lager Beer. Many of these beers were produced using local ingredients during World War II when it was becoming more and more difficult to import many of the ingredients.

 

Siam was the official name of the Kingdom of Thailand up until 24 June 1939, after the 1932 Revolution that saw the end of absolute monarchy. It was changed back again from 1946 to 1948. Since 1948, our Land of Smiles became known as Thailand. Singha Beer was born in 1934, thus becoming the first and only Siamese Beer. The second brewery to be built in Thailand was Bangkok Beer Co., Ltd by then Prime Minister Sarit Thanarat in 1961, producing the Hanuman, Map and Krating (Bull) beers. These beers died when Sarit died in 1963. The brewery changed hands, and became Amarit Brewery, and again, becoming the San Miguel Brewery.

 
The Siamese Collection
DISCLAIMER: Please accept that my intention for this page is to showcase the history of a successful man and his business, which happens to be beer, a form of alcoholic beverage. I have no intention of promoting the drinking of alcohol to minors. And for drinkers, I would also like to stress the importance of drinking resposibly, and please Don't Drink and Drive. Thank you.
     
Updated 6 March 2021