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Cathay Pacific, McCann & Hong Kong Beer Company brew beer at 35,000 ft

Cathay Pacific Airways, Hong Kong Beer Company and McCann Worldgroup have collaborated to create Betsy Beer, an ale brewed specially for 35,000 feet. Named after their first ever aircraft, Betsy Beer fuses aviation science with traditional brewing techniques, to create a brew that tastes great anywhere in the world, but especially up in the air.

Martin Lever, Executive Creative Director, McCann Worldgroup Hong Kong explains how the project was born, “Every great idea needs a strong insight. We know that when you fly, your sense of taste changes. Airlines address this for food in certain ways. But nobody has ever tried to improve the taste of beer at altitude. Until now. This provided us with a perfect opportunity to go beyond traditional advertising in order to make a strong emotional connection with travellers.”

Julian Lyden, General Manager, Marketing, Cathay Pacific Airways explains why Betsy Beer has been created, “We are constantly looking for meaningful ways to enhance the travel experience for our customers. To help passengers experience something memorable for the first time is a big part of what we mean by ‘travelling well’. Betsy Beer is a great example of this. A beautifully crafted product designed purely with the traveller, and beer lover, in mind. The fact that it’s a world’s first is just a bonus really.”

To create Betsy Beer, McCann Worldgroup and Cathay Pacific joined forces with one of Hong Kong’s best craft breweries – the Hong Kong Beer Company.

Devin Kimble, Director, Hong Kong Beer Company summarises the challenge and scientific process: “This was such an exciting challenge to embrace. Senses are dulled by up to 30 per cent at altitude. Low humidity, dimmed lights, low air pressure, body clock fatigue and ambient noise all affect the palate. So we needed to create a base brew that could overcome these conditions and perform well at altitude.”

As a wheat beer, Betsy Beer has a reduced bitterness. It also has an increased carbonation of over 10 per cent to stimulate receptors on the tongue. As an unfiltered brew it retains Vitamin B, known for its restorative properties at altitude.

Cathay Pacific also wanted to put travel at the heart of Betsy Beer’s DNA. That’s why Betsy Beer is enhanced with a marriage of flavours from two great travel and beer destinations: Hong Kong and the UK. Ingredients include Dragon Eye fruit and New Territories honey sourced in Hong Kong, and Fuggle hops from Kent in the UK.

Betsy Beer launched on the February 21 and will be available in First and Business Classes on all flights between Hong Kong and the UK from the March 1. It will also be available at select Hong Kong establishments at ground level, including Mr and Mrs Fox, Cafe Gray Deluxe, Plat du Jour, Public, Sugar and The Continental.

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