What Kind of Beer Did They Drink in Vietnam War?

Explore the diverse range of beers, from local Asian brews to American classics, enjoyed by soldiers during the Vietnam War, offering a taste of history and camaraderie.

During the Vietnam War, soldiers like you savored a variety of beers, from local favorites such as 33 Beer and Tiger Beer to well-known American brands like Pabst Blue Ribbon and Budweiser. These diverse choices not only offered a moment of comfort and camaraderie but also provided a brief escape from the challenging times of that era. Each sip represented a blend of cultures and a shared experience among troops, hinting at a deeper history and significance waiting to be discovered.

Local Vietnamese Beer Brands

During the Vietnam War, local Vietnamese beer brands such as 33 Beer and Tiger Beer played a significant role in providing soldiers and locals with a taste of home and a respite from the hardships of war. 33 Beer, also known as Ba Moui Ba, had its origins in France and was brewed using a German recipe, offering a unique blend of cultural influences. On the other hand, Tiger Beer, created in Saigon by Victor Larue, maintained its original recipe dating back to 1909, showcasing a longstanding tradition of brewing excellence.

These Vietnamese beers, including 33 Beer and Tiger Beer, boasted a higher alcohol content of around 5.5% compared to the American beer brands available during that time. This higher alcohol content may have provided a stronger kick to those seeking a brief escape from the realities of conflict.

Post-Vietnam War, 33 Beer underwent a rebranding as 333 Premium Export Beer, while Biere Larue continued its production with slight recipe adjustments to adapt to changing consumer preferences.

American Imported Beer Brands

American imported beer brands, such as Pabst Blue Ribbon, Carling Black Label, Budweiser, and Ballantines, were highly favored among U.S. troops stationed in Vietnam during the conflict. These beers provided a taste of home for the soldiers in a foreign land. Here is a comparison of some American imported beer brands enjoyed by troops:

Beer BrandDescriptionPopularity Among Troops
Pabst Blue RibbonKnown for its crisp, clean taste and affordability.High
Carling Black LabelA smooth lager with a slightly sweet finish.Popular
BudweiserAn iconic American lager with a distinct flavor.Widely Enjoyed
BallantinesA classic pale ale known for its balanced flavor.Moderate
Fosters LagerAustralian lager with a invigorating and light taste.Emerging

These beers were often acquired through military Post Exchanges or resupply missions, offering the soldiers a piece of familiarity amidst the chaos of war.

Beer Availability in Vietnam

In Vietnam, beer availability wasn't limited to American imports; local Vietnamese beers like Ba Moui Ba (Biere 33) and Tiger Beer (Biere Larue) were also widely enjoyed by soldiers during the conflict. These local brews provided soldiers with a taste of Vietnam and were easily accessible alongside the American beer options.

Biere 33 Export, a brand under the Fosters Group of Australia, was another local beer available during the war, adding to the variety of choices for soldiers. Additionally, post Tet of '68, American soldiers could find beers like Fosters Lager and Reschs Real Bitter, further expanding the selection of beers in Vietnam.

Soldiers sometimes opted for F&N Soda from Malaysia as an alternative to American sodas, with flavors like Lemonade and Ginger Beer, showcasing the diverse beverage options present during the Vietnam War. The presence of both American and local Vietnamese beers highlights the availability and range of choices soldiers had while serving in Vietnam.

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Popular Choices Among Soldiers

Popular among soldiers were a variety of beer choices, including both American brands like Pabst Blue Ribbon and local Vietnamese brews such as Ba Moui Ba and Tiger Beer. Each of these options carried its own unique appeal, catering to different tastes and preferences:

  1. Pabst Blue Ribbon: Known for its crisp and invigorating flavor, Pabst Blue Ribbon was a go-to choice for many soldiers looking to unwind after a long day in the field. Its availability and familiar taste provided a sense of comfort amidst the chaos of war.
  2. Ba Moui Ba (Biere 33): This local Vietnamese beer quickly gained popularity among soldiers for its distinct taste and cultural connection. Many found solace in sipping on Ba Moui Ba, which not only offered a revitalizing drink but also a glimpse into the Vietnamese way of life.
  3. Tiger Beer: With its smooth and slightly sweet profile, Tiger Beer became a favorite among troops seeking a break from the intensity of combat. Its unique flavor profile added a touch of exoticism to the soldiers' drinking experience, transporting them momentarily from the harsh realities of war.

Impact of Beer on Troops

Beer played an essential role in boosting morale among troops, providing a sense of relaxation and comfort in the midst of intense field activities.

Additionally, sharing a beer created social bonding opportunities among soldiers, fostering camaraderie and unity within units.

When faced with the stress of war, soldiers turned to beer as a coping mechanism, using it as a temporary escape from the harsh realities of combat.

Beers Morale Boost

Amidst the tumult of war, the presence of canned beverages such as Pabst Blue Ribbon, Carling Black Label, and Budweiser played a pivotal role in maintaining soldiers' morale in the Vietnam War.

Soldiers found solace in the familiar taste of American beer brands, providing a temporary escape from the harsh realities of combat.

Sharing a beer with comrades fostered bonds of camaraderie and offered moments of relaxation amid the stress and danger of war.

The access to beer, whether through resupply missions or military Post Exchanges, served as a comforting link to home for troops in the unfamiliar and hostile environment of Vietnam.

Beer not only quenched soldiers' thirst but also lifted their spirits, reinforcing the significance of this simple pleasure during challenging times.

Social Bonding Effects

Soldiers in the Vietnam War forged strong bonds and found moments of respite through the social camaraderie fostered by sharing a beer in the midst of wartime challenges. Beer played an essential role in enhancing social bonding among troops, providing a sense of normalcy and unity in the face of adversity.

The act of enjoying a beer together created a space for soldiers to unwind, share experiences, and build relationships, fostering connections that transcended the rigors of combat. In the unique setting of war, beer consumption during downtime served as a catalyst for solidarity and mutual support among comrades.

These moments of shared relaxation over a beer not only offered temporary relief but also strengthened the bonds that helped soldiers endure the harsh realities of war.

Coping With Stress

During the Vietnam War, the prevalent use of beer as a coping mechanism among troops facing stress highlighted the significance of this beverage in providing moments of relaxation and relief amidst the challenges of combat.

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Soldiers often turned to beer after enduring long and arduous days in the field, seeking solace in its familiar taste and temporary escape from the harsh realities of war. The sound of a church key opening a can of beer became synonymous with brief respites from the constant tension of military life.

As soldiers gathered around, sharing stories over a cold brew, the simple act of cracking open a can represented a fleeting moment of normalcy in the midst of chaos.

Beer Consumption in Military Bases

Beer consumption at military bases during the Vietnam War was a significant aspect of the soldiers' off-duty social interactions and relaxation. Service members stationed in Vietnam had access to a variety of beers, both local Vietnamese brews and imported American brands. Popular choices among American troops included beers like Pabst Blue Ribbon, Carling Black Label, Budweiser, and Ballantines.

Additionally, Vietnamese beers like Ba Moui Ba (Biere 33) and Tiger Beer (Biere Larue) were favored by soldiers seeking a taste of the local culture. Post-Tet of '68, soldiers occasionally indulged in American beers like Fosters Lager and Reschs Real Bitter. To cater to non-drinkers, options like F&N Soda from Malaysia, available in flavors like Lemonade and Ginger Beer, were also provided.

Non-Commissioned Officers (NCOs) played a pivotal role in sourcing and distributing these beverages, sometimes utilizing local resources to make sure the drinks were appropriately chilled for the soldiers' enjoyment.

Cultural Significance of Beer

Beer in the Vietnam War not only served as a beverage but also played a significant role in soldiers' rituals and social interactions.

Soldiers often shared a beer to bond, unwind, and create a sense of camaraderie amidst the harsh realities of war.

Understanding the cultural significance of beer sheds light on how it functioned as more than just a drink, but as a symbol of connection and respite for troops in Vietnam.

Beer in Rituals

Amidst the harsh realities of the Vietnam War, soldiers found solace and connection through the shared ritual of enjoying a cold beer together. Beer became more than just a beverage; it became a symbol of unity and camaraderie among troops. In rituals honoring fallen comrades, the clinking of beer bottles echoed a solemn yet unifying tribute.

Here are three ways beer rituals impacted soldiers emotionally:

  1. Comfort: A shared beer provided a moment of respite from the intensity of war, offering a brief escape into camaraderie.
  2. Solidarity: Drinking beer together forged deep bonds of brotherhood, creating a sense of unity and support among soldiers.
  3. Reflection: Beer ceremonies allowed soldiers to remember, honor, and celebrate the lives of their fallen comrades in a poignant and collective manner.

Beer as Social Lubricant

Fostering connections and easing tensions, the consumption of beer played a pivotal role in the social dynamics of troops during the Vietnam War. American soldiers, including those from the Infantry Division, often gathered around a shared beer, whether it be a local Vietnamese brew like Tiger Beer or an American classic such as Budweiser. This act of drinking together created a sense of camaraderie and helped soldiers relax amidst the harsh realities of war. The availability of beer at military bases and during resupply missions meant that troops could enjoy a taste of home, promoting a feeling of comfort and normalcy in an otherwise unfamiliar environment. Beer not only provided a moment of respite but also served as a common ground for shared experiences, strengthening the bonds between soldiers.

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Types of BeerTroops' Experience
Tiger BeerTaste of Vietnam
BudweiserTaste of Home
33 BeerLocal Flavor
Pabst Blue RibbonAmerican Classic
Local BrewsCultural Exchange

Legacy of Vietnam War Beers

With a rich history intertwined with the complexities of the Vietnam War, the legacy of 33 Beer and Tiger Beer transcends mere beverages to symbolize a fusion of cultural brewing traditions in a tumultuous era. These beers, originating in South Vietnam and crafted using a German recipe, carry significant historical weight beyond their invigorating taste.

The enduring impact of these brews can be seen in various aspects:

  1. Cultural Resilience: Despite the turmoil of war, the production and consumption of 33 Beer and Tiger Beer showcased the resilience of Vietnamese brewing traditions in the face of adversity.
  2. Historical Continuity: The rebranding of 33 Beer as 333 Premium Export Beer and the recipe adjustments made to Bière Larue highlight how these beers adapted to post-war circumstances while retaining their historical essence.
  3. Symbol of Unity: These beers serve as a symbol of unity, blending French and German brewing techniques with Vietnamese culture, reflecting a harmonious fusion that endures through time.

In essence, the legacy of Vietnam War beers like 33 Beer and Tiger Beer goes beyond their wartime popularity, embodying a cultural amalgamation that stands as a manifestation to resilience and continuity in the face of historical upheaval.

Frequently Asked Questions

What Was the Beer in Vietnam?

In Vietnam, soldiers enjoyed a variety of beers like Pabst Blue Ribbon and local options such as Ba Moui Ba. Post Tet of '68, American brands like Fosters Lager were also popular. Soldiers often switched to sodas like F&N Soda during meals or patrols.

What Beer Is Drunk in Vietnam?

In Vietnam, popular beers like 333 and Bia Saigon are enjoyed. Vietnamese beer culture blends traditional flavors with modern preferences. Brews range from light lagers to craft ales, offering a diverse selection for beer enthusiasts.

What Is the Most Popular Beer in Vietnam?

In Vietnam, the most popular beer is 333 Beer, known as Ba Moui Ba, and Tiger Beer, or Bière Larue. With higher alcohol content, around 5.5%, these brews cater to diverse tastes and reflect the country's rich brewing history.

What Alcohol Do They Drink in Vietnam?

In Vietnam, people drink a variety of alcohol, but favorites include beer like 33 Beer and Tiger Beer. These local brews have a higher alcohol content compared to American brands. The culture values social drinking.


You may be surprised to learn that during the Vietnam War, soldiers were actually drinking a lot of local Vietnamese beer, as well as American imports. Despite the challenging conditions they faced, beer played a significant role in their lives, providing a sense of normalcy and comfort.

The legacy of these war-time beers lives on, reminding us of the cultural significance and impact of alcohol on troops during wartime. Cheers to history's unexpected twists and turns!