BOT­TOMS UP

Philippine craft beer breaks the pre­ten­tious mold, aim­ing to be more ac­ces­si­ble and ap­proach­able to the masses

F&B World - - BEVERAGE - Text by CHRYSSA CE­LESTINO Photos by DAVID HAN­SON

Happy hour hasn’t been this fun in years. The sce­nario used to be that beers got peo­ple talk­ing. But with the rise of local craft beer, the drink has be­come part of the con­ver­sa­tion—thanks in part to the hip­sters spread­ing the word around.

How­ever, the dis­course is lim­ited. The spe­cial­ized bev­er­age has at­tracted a small batch of drinkers, dis­cern­ing about pack­ag­ing, process, and au­then­tic­ity. How can these so­phis­ti­cated brews then pen­e­trate a larger mar­ket rooted in pale pilsens? For the mak­ers of Pe­dro Brewcrafters, a local brand that sprouted in Septem­ber 2015, it’s all about ac­ces­si­bil­ity.

A week­end brew­ing habit-turned-busi­ness, Pe­dro is the first foray of a team of three—Jill Borja and hus­band-and-wife tan­dem Jaime and Na­dine How­ell-Fanlo—into the craft beer in­dus­try. Div­ing into this small pool means brew­ing with the knowl­edge of the science be­hind it— in Pe­dro’s case, hav­ing Jaime learn it at the Amer­i­can Brew­ers Guild.

The name has al­ready made rounds in the drink­ing crowd. And its brand­ing and im­agery con­note es­capism. It’s a clear call to drink amid good, tough, and easy times. “We’re re­ally fo­cused on where we want to come in,” says Jaime. “We want our lines to be ap­proach­able, friendly, and not com­pli­cated.” From the Pro­cras­ti­na­tion Pale Ale to the End­less Sum­mer Wheat Ale, Pe­dro has es­tab­lished it­self as a must-try for new­bies and a re­li­able brand for the more hard­core drinkers.

There’s a catch, though: this in­ter­ested pack comes in a mod­est num­ber. Key play­ers in the in­dus­try like Pe­dro need to reach out fur­ther and guide con­ser­va­tive tastes. “We need to grow with our mar­ket. The Philippine mar­ket is very young when it comes to craft beer. We need to hold their hand in the process,” says Borja. “[Craft beer mak­ers] give them the ba­sics and hope­fully as their palates de­velop, they’ll try more com­pli­cated vari­ants of beer.”

Con­trary to pop­u­lar be­lief, the in­dus­try has yet to see a boom in of­fer­ings. More and more craft beer mak­ers, how­ever, are brew­ing nu­mer­ous op­tions for the mar­ket. Com­pe­ti­tion is grow­ing, but brands are work­ing to­gether to make craft beer more vis­i­ble and main­tain stan­dards in brew­ing.

“The more play­ers there are the bet­ter, be­cause there’s more noise,” says Jaime. Any­body who has had their share of happy hour knows that more noise means bet­ter times are ahead of us all.

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