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Aug 29, 2009 01:39 PM

Malta Guinness - Local Source?

So I just finished an absolutely wonderful first mystery novel ("Wife of the Gods" by Kwei Quartey) and the favorite drink of the books main character (Darko Dawson of the Ghana National Police Force) is Malta Guinness ( ). It's non alcoholic and is evidently very, very popular in parts of Africa (Ghana and Nigeria among them).

I checked the Galco website but didn't get a hit on their site search engine. I'll probably give them a call and ask, just to double check. Does anyone know anything about finding this locally? I just have to try it now that I have finished the book.

I may have to try and order it online, but if I can get it locally I much prefer to do it that way.

TIA for any leads.

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  1. Have you tried any mom & pop shops in Little Ethiopia? They may have a source for you.

    12 Replies
    1. re: Phurstluv

      Just finished the book and posted, so not yet. Do you know of one that you have been in that might carry something like this?

      1. re: Servorg

        Sorry, I don't, I'm assuming, since there's a large eastern African population there, you're bound to find some Nigerian products as well, or, they can possibly order some for you.

        Or, if you like, I can Google that for you!!! LOL!

        1. re: Phurstluv

          If you can get a spot on website via lmgtfy please post the link. Like I said, I did check Galco and they are the "off beat" soda pop proverbial 500 lb gorilla of Southern California.

          1. re: Servorg

            I'm still looking for you, so stand by...

              1. re: Phurstluv

                As I said, I am sure I can buy it online if I can't find it here in LA. First I'm going to look for it via the LA board recommendation (seeing if any hound has seen it locally). That often happens, and is the reason I put up the post after striking out at Galco.

                If I can't source it locally then I'll try buying it online. Thanks for that link.

                1. re: Servorg

                  Found one place that says they sell it by "single bottles" (not in 6 packs I guess). Now I just have to get over there this week. Will post when I get it and hope that I am not totally let down. (g)

                  African General Store
                  1204 N La Brea Ave
                  Inglewood, CA 90302

                  Double bonus - they are close to Pann's.


                  1. re: Servorg

                    I was trying to find a link for a local store with Nigerian products, but that came up first.

                    Try the beer boards too.

                    1. re: Phurstluv

                      Probably won't be on the beer board because it's not beer but rather soda pop.

                      1. re: Servorg

                        Oh, gotcha, the Guinness threw me! Good luck!! And definitely look for an African market, they must sell it if it's a pop. I know the Muslim stores wouldn't dare, but not every Nigerian or Ethiopian is Muslim.

                          1. re: Phurstluv

                            Ethiopia is overwhelmingly Christian. If it's anything like the Matla sold in Puerto Rico there is a tinge of alcohol in it. Try Latin American stores.

          2. I think I remember seeing it at El Camaguey Market, and also I've ordered it before at El Rincon Criollo.

            El Camaguey Market
            10925 Venice Blvd, Los Angeles, CA

            10 Replies
            1. re: vmanor

              That's much closer than the other place I found on La Brea. Thanks. I'll check it out.

              1. re: vmanor

                Thanks for the tip on El Camaguey. They were close and they had several different brands (and while they didn't have the Guinness brand I have a feeling that it won't matter much). I bought a bottle of Malta Goya which (according to the bottle) was brewed by Cerveceria Goya in Wilkes-Barre, PA.

                Very interesting taste like nothing I've tried before. I actually like it and would probably have it more often if I was into sugared soft drinks. Sort of a malted taste, some molasses in there and with a nice sweet finish (and it pours with a beautiful, creamy head).

                The other bottle is called Malta Hatuey and is brewed in Florida (Auburndale). Have not tried it as yet to see if there is any appreciable difference between the two. But if I try it and it seems different I'll post again.

                Thanks to all who replied. The next time Dr. Quartey comes out with another Darko Dawson novel I'll get a bottle to sip as I read.

                1. re: Servorg

                  The drink is called Malta. It's only called Malta Guinness in West Africa -- in the Caribbean it's usually just called "malta".

                  1. re: Das Ubergeek

                    I think that the Guinness or Goya or Hatuey or India (another brand they had) or what have you are the various brewers who make Malta. I'll have to see if there is much/any variation in taste between the ones out there. Probably not, but that's supposition at this point. Do you recall what brand you had? Maybe like a bunch of different makers of "cola" each with a slightly different recipe?

                    1. re: Servorg

                      You're spot on that they're basically different brands of cola. I've had Goya mostly, as it's the easiest to find, but at a cuban restaurant around noho I got a bottle of Malta Bohio, and I couldn't really tell much of a difference. I think Goya was a little sweeter, but it was a while back.

                      1. re: Servorg

                        Malta India has a bit more of a caramel flavor than Goya and Hatuey. I think Malta Guinness is more similar to India or Hatuey. Malta India is preferred over Goya in Puerto Rico and Domincan Republic. Cuban Americans tend to prefer Hatuey. My preference is toward India, since I've been drinking it since birth.

                        El Camaguey really is the place to get different varieties that I can think of. You can find Malta Goya and sometimes Hatuey in Top Valu markets.

                        1. re: annapurna7

                          Thanks for the taste update from someone who has extensive knowledge of the product. Have you ever seen the Guinness brand at El Camaguey?

                          1. re: Servorg

                            No, but I have seen it at Payless Produce Market up the street from El Camaguey on occasion. They usually just carry the Goya brand, but sometimes they surprise you.

                        2. re: Servorg

                          No, you are wrong. I am an old Malta drinker. I grew up on malta like you did with Coke, Srpite, and Fanta. When it comes to malta there is a lot of differences that are very noticeable. The Cuban-American maltas (Hatuey, Sunchy, Goya etc) are all crap. I wouldnt even bother buying them, that's how low quality they are. They have an overlysweet flavor and there is not a hint of bitternes in them. The carbonated stuff runs out quick. It's like drinking water with tons of brown sugar and a little bit of gas. To say that all maltas are the same with slight variations like Coke is to say that are beers are the same. Malta is more similar to alcohol free beer than to Coke, hence why it is called Kid's Beer or Blonde Beer in Germany. Good malta like Malta Bucanero is supposed to be slightly bitter (stronger) and not as sweet and with a lot of gas. Try the germans Vitamaltz and Karamaltz or the danish Vita Malt. Venezuelan 'Malta Caracas' is decent too. You are not going to find Bucanero because of the embargo, but that's my favorite. Stay away from the crap made in Miami (hatuey Goya). That is so low quality i get pissed that somebody dared to call it malt.

                      2. re: Servorg

                        Dead topic but since I found it, others might too and this might help.

                        I lived in the West Indies for 15 years and if you want the "real stuff" then I recommend 3 brands only. In order of (IMO) best to least best:) Malta Guinness, Power Malt, and Vita Malt. These are the genuine malt beverages and not just sugar and caramel soda.

                        There may be a few other brands in the same class as Malta Guiness and friends but Malta Goya, Malta Hatuey, Malta India, and basically every other malta I've seen in a taller skinny soft-drink-style bottle as opposed to the shorter beer-style bottles, don't even come close in depth of flavor or quality.

                        If you like the cheap maltas then great, but if you're looking for what Malta Guinness tastes like then you need to try Malta Guinness. There is no substitute, except in that the other 2 I mentioned are also high quality, though like beer they have their own distinctive flavors.

                    2. I'd be very surprised if Glaco's no longer carries it. I used to pick up six packs there as recently as 8 months ago, so I guess it's possible they no longer offer it, but they sure used to. If you haven't called or visited, I suggest you do, as it's a likely shot.

                      If not them, it's also a popular caribbean drink, so caribbean markets like Right Choice on Crenshaw, may carry them as well.

                      Hope you have luck in finding it, it's an absolutely delightful drink.

                      Right Choice Caribbean Market
                      4233 Crenshaw Blvd
                      Los Angeles, CA 90008
                      (323) 292-8921

                      1. Another alternative is Malta from Goya; I used to find it in the Latin section of regular supermarkets in the Northeast. Not as good as Guinness' but does the job.


                        1 Reply
                        1. re: Sgee

                          I tried the Goya today, and having nothing to compare it against I thought it was very tasty. I'll keep an eye out for the Guinness brand and pick one up when I see it.

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