Cathay Pacific is rolling out what it says is the world's first hand-crafted bottled beer brewed designed especially for high altitudes.

The airline said that cabin pressure at 35,000 feet affected taste buds but by using science and traditional brewing methods along with the Hong Kong Beer Co it has created a brew with the necessary ingredients, aroma, and carbonation to taste great both in the air and on the ground.

Betsy Beer - named in honour of the airline's first plane - has among its ingredients a lychee-like fruit and Hong Kong honey.

"The inclusion of 'Dragon Eye' fruit is a unique characteristic of the beverage. Known for its aromatic properties, the fruit adds to the round, rich, textural properties that make the beer distinctive,'' the airline said.

The flavour was enhanced further for the limited release beer by the inclusion of a small component of New Territories' -sourced honey and Fuggle, a hop and a mainstay of traditional British craft ales.

"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,"
said Cathay Pacific General manager marketing, loyalty and CRM, Julian Lyden.

Betsy was a Douglas DC-3 which flew passengers around the region in the 1940s and 1950s.

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Betsy Beer will be first served to first and business class passengers on board flights between Hong Kong and destinations in Britain in March and April.

Betsy Beer will be available at ground level at the airline's lounges in Hong Kong and Heathrow as well as a select number of restaurants in Hong Kong.

Airlines select wines that are not so badly affected by high altitudes, as dry cabins can mean tannins and acids often taste a lot stronger.