Young Pioneer Tours

Coca-Cola, North Korea style

The tale of Coca Cola in North Korea is one that has been told many times. For a long time one has been able to made Chinese-made coke in North Korea, and of course there has always been the homegrown brand of Ryogjin Cola.

How to describe this unique cola? Not awful, but not exactly the real deal; not even as good as Cuban coke (which genuinely goes well with rum).

In fairness to North Korea they are not averse to a good rebrand – particularly when said rebrand resembles its western predecessor more than a little.

When you travel to North Korea, you’ll notice that you are served ‘coke’ and ‘Sprite’ at your meals. These look a lot like coke and Sprite, but are in fact the local (Ryongjin) variants.

North Korean Coca-Cola

Whilst we certainly don’t expect there to be an 80s-era corporate war à la Pepsi and Coca-Cola, it’s a decent alternative!

It certainly thickens the plot as it relates to the byzantine world of North Korean beverages: last month we broke the story of North Korea’s first whisky, a whisky one might suspect of deliberately aping the Johnny Walker brand. According to our North Korean friends this was less trademark infringement and more homage.

Samilpo red- and black-label whiskey bottles from the front.
The front labels of the two varieties of whiskey.

And now for the four-million-dollar question: what does North Korean coke taste like when combined with North Korean whisky?

We are sad to say that, despite our reputation preceding us, we have yet to get our delirium-tremensed hands on both Korean whisky and Korean coke simultaneously, thus precluding our ability to perform this crucial taste test. It is, however, very much on the bucket list (along with North Korean champagne).

Try to get the much-hyped whiskey and coke combo done yourself on one of our many tours!