Everyday Life: The Balintawak Beer Brewery

Background: Enjoying a cold glass of beer was increasingly popular in the 1930’s as the Philippines prospered under a gold mining boom. San Miguel Corporation’s (Est 1890) Pale Pilsen led the market, but other imported beers were increasingly popular. In its defense San Miguel engineered a series of import tariffs. Japanese importers felt they would eventually be priced out of the Philippine market. With this in mind, and at the urging of the Japanese Consul General, three firms invested in a local beer brewing company named The Balintawak Beer Brewery (BBB).


  • Mitsui Trading Co
  • Dai Nippon Beer (Est 1889) (Producers of Asahi, Ebisu and Sapporo Beer)
  • Osaka Trading (Importers of Asahi Beer)

Being well financed BBB actively promoted its beer from 1937 until the outbreak of WW2 (Dec 1941). Presumably it tasted good, probably like the popular Asahi. WW2 economics changed everything. BBB and SMB could no longer import quality hops and barley from Germany). Ocean shipping was also increasingly problematic. Nevertheless, both BBB and SMC carried on throughout the war. In February 1945 Manila was liberated. BBB Brewery was seized as “Enemy Property” but not before a group of “GI’s” liberated the vats of beer they found abandoned.

Read about the Balintawak Brewery

  • What’s in a name: “The Cry of Balintawak” (August 1896) A place in Quezon City where Philippine patriot Andres Bonifacio and other revolutionaries declared their open revolt against Spain.
  • Japan and Philippine Beer (1930s) by Grant Goodman
  • The Balintawak Beer Brewery- Japan’s biggest investment (Center for Filipino Architecture)
  • A July 1944 Visit to the Japan Head Quarters of Dai Nippon Beer