Stärker has relaunched in Malaysia three years after disappearing from the local scene.
Originally focused on distribution through partner bar chains and their own taprooms, the beer brand has pivoted into direct-to-consumer (D2C) e-commerce.
Marketed as the “only fresh beer in Malaysia”, the brand is now focused on driving sales of their 5l mini-kegs through popular marketplaces Shopee & Lazada.
Stärker’s German-inspired core range – a Lager, a Dunkel, an ‘Aromatic’ Amber Ale & a Lychee Fruit Beer – is brewed and packaged at Malaysia’s ‘third’ and smallest brewery, Napex.
Stärker is breaking from the usual quiet approach used by brands brewed at Napex, which deliberately keeps a low profile and eschews public attention in Malaysia where brewing licenses are a highly political and ‘sensitive’ subject.
Stärker was once a well-known brand in Malaysia in the early 2010s. The brewery built a profile both through partnerships with local chains of bistros like Overtime and by being a (very) rare locally-brewed alternative to Heineken and Carlsberg’s core range.
After finding success a chain of their own outlets in Singapore, Starker had opened their own bistro in Malaysia’s southernmost city Johor Baru in 2017.
The bar appears to have shut in 2018 according to the brand’s previous Instagram account, which suggested fans hop “just across the border” to visit their chain of bars in Singapore.
However, competition in both food and beverage in Singapore finally COVID-19 restrictions in recent years Singapore arm of the business shut down in June 2020.
Starker’s Singapore brewery and taproom locations were taken over by EightX, a venture capital firm, which has subsequently established the SevenDaze brewery and brand.
Back to Malaysia, Stärker is currently running a Chinese New Year campaign on social media and e-commerce platforms to tap into the peak beer sales season in the local market.
It remains to be seen whether the brand will succeed in the market in the coming months and years, but for local drinkers, it is a moment to celebrate the rare milestone of a new commercially-sold beer brewed in Malaysia.