Singapore Sparks Interview: Daniel Goh of The Good Beer Company

What’s the story behind The Good Beer Company?
I’d often wondered why you couldn’t find good beers in Singapore except at pricey bars and restaurants. They certainly couldn’t be found at local hawker centers, where you can drink them as you enjoy local food. When I got retrenched in 2011, I took the plunge.

Why a hawker stall?
There’s far less financial risk in setting up a hawker stall as compared to a full-service bar. The other reason is the sheer novelty factor—bars that sell beer are a dime a dozen, but a hawker stall selling some 60 beers and ciders? We’re pretty much the first. In fact, we’re still the only one, though some kopitiams offer a wider variety of beers now.

Any unusual patrons so far?
Interestingly, we attract a lot of people who work in technology start-ups (otherwise known as geeks, which I say in the most affectionate manner). We’ve hosted a casual party for Microsoft and a regular hangout for Googlers, and even had folks from Evernote drop by when they’re in town. Singapore Redditors meet here often as well.

Do the “boutique prices” of some of your beers deter patrons?
Not everyone would pay for premium beer and we accept that. We’d rather go for a demographic who’d be happy to find a Stone IPA or Rochefort 6 going for $10, which is reasonable considering the prices out there.

What does the local beer industry lack?
Beer knowledge. Many bars and bistros have begun to sell craft beer, but they don’t know enough about it to support so many specialty beer premises.

If you could invent your own beer, what would it be like?
I love my beers, but I’m not interested in being a brewer. If I really had to do one myself though, it’d be a golden ale that incorporates chrysanthemum flowers and dried winter melon sugar. It would be a session beer—something very drinkable so you can have a few each time—with flavors the local palate is familiar with. I’d call it Yellow Gold (黄金), a play on the color and style of the beer.