Look What's Brewing

A sneak peek of the re­cently launched ar­ti­sanal Filipino beer, Engkanto

Philippine Tatler Traveller - - Contents - pho­tos Ter­ence Ver Ang­sioco and Ra­mon Mangila

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.”

Part­ner­ing Up

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

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