This week I’ve made my way back from Scotland, where I sat in numerous pubs and pondered the future of the craft beer market.
What I learned after interviewing more people than I should’ve, being on holiday and all, is that they’ve been drinking beer for a very long time. I heard hundreds of years, so it felt like their beer drinking pattern was set. Another point of interest was that the pubs sell most beer between 4-5,0%.
”We don’t have beer on tap over 5,0%” said one pub owner I spoke to in Portpatrick. I did find beer over 5,0% at some pubs but most were round about the 5,0% mark. That’s maybe why they seem to be able sit at the pub all day drinking pint after pint after pint?
They also seem have a lot of the new ”BrewDog style” pubs that sell anything and everything from 2,0% all the way to 12,0% plus. But it didn’t feel as if the people were there to stay the whole day drinking pint after pint after pint.
In Sweden you can see the low alcohol beer trends starting with shops opening that only sell low ABV beers (folköl) of 3,5% and lower. We do have different laws here, but that seems to help create a new craft beer market segment that seems very popular indeed. And the quality of the beers in that segment only seem to get better and better over time.
In my personal opinion, I prefer lower alcohol beers and smaller glasses, but everyone’s different, that’s why, here at Beerbliotek, we have just released our 162nd different beer 🙂
During this week I also ventured into the brewery to interview Adam for our brewery update. He and Axel was just busy finishing up a brew day. Hip Hops as I recall.
Adam and Axel cleaning the brew-kit after a brew day.
Now if you don’t know Adam Norman, he’s our head of brewery operations and one of the co-founders of Beerbliotek. He’s an Australian, and the person who introduced me to Craft beer. I’m from South Africa you see, and love wine, but that has changed, cause now I love craft beer and wine 🙂
Without wasting amy time, let’s start with question one.
What was the fist craft beer you ever had?
Adam Norman (AN). Well it would’ve been in Australia, so it probably would’ve been ”Little Creatures”, I guess.
Darryl de Necker (DD). What did you think of it?
AN. I thought it was pretty good, but Australian craft beer at the time was pretty crap, but it was what people drank.
DD. And yet you still carried on drinking craft beer and now working in the craft beer industry?
AN. Of course.
AN. I guess because the large multi-national companies are less interesting to interact with than small hand produced companies.
Adam checking the boil during our home-brewing days. 11 April 2011.
Let’s talk about the environment. How is Beerbliotek facing that challenge and what are we doing about it?
AN. We always try and do as much as we can. We use cans, which lowers transport costs. It means we don’t transport air, or weight unnecessarily. It allows us to use a more widely recycled material and it means we have less wastage.
We try to re-use as much water as we can, such as re-using the water from the cooling of our wort. We try to use chemicals for cleaning that are as passive on the environment as possible.
And then of course our one way kegs. There’s an argument whether they are more environmentally friendly or not, but they don’t have to be cleaned with aggressive chemicals, they don’t have to be driven around empty in the same way. As long as the customer who buys them from us recycles them they’re put back into the system.
Adam checking on a beer during a brew day in winter time.
Is owning a brewery very different from what you thought it would be?
AN. No… I guess the only thing that changes as you grow is that you don’t get to brew as much beer as you want. Instead you have to take care of everything else, and making sure the people who are brewing the beer is doing it as you want.
What is your biggest challenge as a brewer? What is your personal philosophy on the beer that you want to release?
AN. Well i guess the main thing is to be self critical. Every single beer you make you should understand what’s wrong with it, before you start looking at what’s right with it. And every single beer that is made there’s something wrong with… just ask raters.
DD. Is that why our latest beer is called ”Raters gonna rate”?
AN. We did ”Raters gonna rate”, because… well it’s a challenge right? It will stir up some raters and it will be interesting to see what the ones that think rating is important in the context of beer development thinks in the rating of the beer, compared to people trying it for their own sake and publicizing how much they know about beer. Of course it’s tongue in cheek, but half a finger up, from my point of view. I don’t speak on behalf of the whole brewery (laughs).
You were a home-brewer for three and a half years, and now you’ve been brewing here at Beerbliotek for the same amount of time.
Do you have some tips for better brewing at home?
Henrik, Adam and myself pouring beer during this year’s Nöjesguide Beer Festival in Stockholm.
AN. Control your fermentation temperatures.
AN. Because that’s where most off flavours in home brewed beers come from. If you’re keeping things clean and using good quality products, then controlling fermentation temperatures is the number one thing that large breweries can do over home breweries.
Cleanliness and quality of product and quality of equipment is of course slightly better, but fermentation temperatures is where you let something else take care of the beer for you, instead of you taking care of the beer.
DD. Thank you for your time.
AN. No worries.
And that brings us on to our latest new beer, number 162, ”Raters gonna rate”. It’s an IPA on 7,0% and we hope you’re going to like it, it will start showing up in the coming weeks, so get it while it’s fresh.
And the haters gonna hate, hate, hate, hate, hate
Brewers head gonna shake, shake, shake, shake, shake
Tick it of, Tick it of” show_quote_icon=”yes”]
That is it from us for this week. I hope you enjoyed the interview with Adam. There’s more interviews on the way as I move around our brewery to keep you up to date with what’s going on.
A last reminder to tag your photos of our cans with #FreshestCanInTheLand, to stand a chance to win tickets to the All in Beer Festival.
Then one more note about the Aluminium discussion we had last week, Wired magazine has a great article on cans, which is worth a read. It’s called The secret life of the Aluminium can, a feat of engineering.
If you’re on holiday then enjoy, but if you’re working, then you can always look forward to the weekends.
Keep well. Till next week.
One month left to compete in our freshest can in the land competition and stand a chance to win tickets to the All in Beer Festival.
[instagram-feed type=hashtag hashtag=”#freshestcanintheland” num=6 cols=3 showcaption=false]
If you’d like to get hold of the same Beer T-Shirt Henrik is wearing then you’d need to get to our webshop soon. We have limited stocks available.
But fear not, we’re releasing our new merchandise range soon, so keep watching this space.
Brekeriet Bar with friends – 13 August 2016
Join us as we head down to Malmö for the ”Brekeriet Bar with friends”. They have invited 11 friends to join them behind the bar and we just happen to be one of their friends.
The other breweries that will join us are Malmö Brewing Co, BrewDog, Remmarlöv Gårdsbryggeri, Hyllie Bryggeri, Constant Companion, Brewski, Alefarm Brewing, Stockholm Brewing Co., Dry & Bitter Brewing Company and Charlis Brygghus.
Each brewery/importer will be represented with two beers and a staff member working the bar. This year Darryl and his fiance will be pouring the beer, so come and say hi.
For more information on the festival and getting hold of your tickets, have a look at their website.
All in Beer Festival 4-5 November 2016
One of our favourite festivals is the All In Beer Fest. The reason? It’s just about beer.
We’ll be attending again this year, but if you’d like to attend, then there’s two ways to go about it. Buy a ticket, or enter our #FreshestCanInTheLand competition, where you stand the chance to win two entrance tickets.
Finding our beers in Sweden
Folköl (Low ABV Beers)
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