Look What's Brewing
A sneak peek of the recently launched artisanal Filipino beer, Engkanto
Craft beer is having a moment, though that may be a bit of an understatement. In 2016, craft brewers represented 12.3 per cent market share of the total U.S. beer market—doubling its figure from 2012. In Europe, over 900 breweries have opened since 2013, almost all of them microbreweries producing speciality beers. And in Japan, the number of domestic craft breweries has grown to more than 220 in 2015; though overall beer consumption in the country has declined by over 10 per cent since 1994, the consumption of craft beer has continuously risen.
Meanwhile in the Philippines, the craft beer industry has just begun finding its bearings, with a handful of breweries popping up all over the country, from Manila to Baguio to Iligan City. The newest addition to the local craft beer scene is Engkanto Brewery, the brainchild of Ian Paradies and his technical partner Johs Karten.
A selfconfessed beer lover, it was in 2015 when Paradies decided to put up a brewery. It seemed only natural for him to go into creating his own beer brand. He explains, “I felt the timing was right to put up a brewery as the market
only had a few players, and many Filipinos are looking for different products or variety.”
A common friend from Jakarta introduced Paradies to Karten, who owns the company Craft Beverage Consulting and the Rhode Island-based brewery Proclamation Ale Company. “The way we met was truly one of those ‘it’s a small world’ moments,” Paradies recounts. “From our first phone conversation, we hit it off, and the rest is history.”
Karten oversees research and development and the daily operations of the brewery—tasks so critical that he now spends the majority of his time in Manila. Together, he and Paradies came up with a craft beer brand that caters specifically to the Filipino palate.
Using US-style practices and Filipino-centric recipes, Engkanto brews five flagship beer variants: lager, blonde ale, pale ale, India pale ale (IPA), and double IPA. “We feel that the five beers we launched cater to a wide range of beer drinkers, and can even capture people that don’t typically drink beer,” Paradies says.
The Next Level
Presently, Engkanto is operating a small brewery in Makati City that is dedicated to producing beers in kegs. “We believe that draft beer is the best way to fully enjoy a beer and all its flavours and characteristics,” says Paradies. He and Karten are building a larger facility in Carmona, Cavite that will be producing their beers in bottles.
“This will allow us to get our beers out to the rest of the country, which is important to me,” Paradies says. His goal is to be able to ship his beer to every city in the country, most especially Cebu, his hometown. Why “Engkanto?” Paradies explains that he wanted to create something magical and special for people, a brand that Filipinos could relate to and connect with. The logo of the beer depicts a Filipino moth, tying in to Paradies’ idea of transformation and interest in local superstitions. He says. “We loved the idea of connecting the Filipino beliefs in folklore and superstitions, because we want to take Filipinos from what they believed beer was to what beer can and should be.”
"I felt the timing was right to put up a brewery"
OPPOSITE BOTTOM FROM LEFT: Kegs of Engkanto beer line the brewery; Josh Karten and Ian Paradies, the brains behind the brand
FROM TOP: At the brewery, Paradies before a mural painted by the Manila-based artist Mercedes Olondriz depicting an enchanted forest; Engkanto will soon be available in bottles