Bring­ing the keg ex­pe­ri­ence to lo­cal beer cul­ture

Ian Paradies in­tends to make beer cul­ture fresh again

Red Magazine - - Editor's Note | Contents - WORDS OLIVIA SYLVIA ESTRADA PHO­TOG­RA­PHY PA­TRICK SEGOVIA

Ian Paradies is brew­ing more than just beer; he’s set to help de­velop keg cul­ture in the Philip­pines. Even with the bot­tled and canned ver­sions we have, he be­lieves that beer is meant to be en­joyed fresh from the tap in or­der to cap­ture the gen­uine body of the beer. Keg and brew­ery cul­ture is found in many bars and restau­rants abroad, so why haven’t we caught on yet?

This ques­tion is how Paradies mus­tered the courage to start his own com­pany, Napa Gapa Bev­er­ages Corp., op­er­at­ing un­der the brand Engkanto Brew­ery. Craft cul­ture may be fledg­ing here, but for him, it’s not enough. Think of a bar adorned with taps all around, which you can get a fresh pint of beer, from bub­bling to the brim—this is what he en­vi­sions to be an ev­ery­day lux­ury.

What is beer to you?

It’s some­thing to be en­joyed. It’s ca­sual and meant to re­lax you, some­thing you can en­joy at any oc­ca­sion: in a party, at the beach, af­ter a long day’s work. It’s some­thing that doesn’t make you feel bad af­ter [drink­ing]. You can find op­tions that suit your palate with­out break­ing bank.

How is beer cul­ture here?

I would say it’s very strong. As the coun­try con­tin­ues to grow, as peo­ple earn more, there is a ten­dency to move away from lo­cally dis­tilled spir­its. It’s strong, with how peo­ple see wine or beer as ca­sual drinks that can be im­bibed daily. I feel that’s where the market is head­ing. Peo­ple are more likely to buy beer or wine at a restau­rant, plus we have much more op­tions now.

What’s one big set­back go­ing into this ven­ture?

Psy­cho­log­i­cally, beer is in­grained into the Filipino mind to be only [one brand]. They don’t even have to look at the menu to know that it’s there. That com­pany has done a great job, they have prod­ucts that cater to dif­fer­ent mar­kets, but we want to change that.

We’re not com­pet­ing with craft beers. Rather, we’re cre­at­ing a dif­fer­ent seg­ment in the craft cul­ture and a dif­fer­ent op­tion for en­joy­ing beer. Price points may vary, types may vary, but craft is one big seg­ment that’s try­ing to change what beer is to what beer should be.

What sets Engkanto Brew­ery apart from oth­ers?

We will be sell­ing only draft beer for the time be­ing. We won’t be bot­tling yet be­cause we want to de­velop the brand first be­fore any­thing else. We want to build up the draft cul-

ture. If you have the op­tions to drink beer bot­tled, canned, or draft, it’s al­ways best to go with draft be­cause it’s fresh: no pas­teur­iza­tion, non-fil­tered. You get it straight from the tank to the keg, so you get more fla­vor. Many bot­tled beer has to be fil­tered or pas­teur­ized first [so that it’ll have a longer] shelf life.

We have have five vari­ants to start with. The lager is our light­est beer while the rest are ales: blond, pale, IPA, and a dou­ble IPA. IPA is short for In­dia pale ale. The name came about when Bri­tain col­o­nized In­dia and would use beer for trad­ing or for the crew to con­sume dur­ing jour­neys. When­ever they shipped ale from the UK to In­dia, the beers would lose al­most all its fla­vor [dur­ing the trip] so what they did was use a lot more hops. By the time the beer got to In­dia, it still had fla­vor.

What got you into this busi­ness?

When I was a teenager, I used to joke that one day I would open a brew­ery or a dis­tillery. I love the so­cial as­pect of drink­ing, and I love beer.

I was with the fam­ily busi­ness for nine years. Dur­ing this pe­riod, I was as­signed to Jakarta, In­done­sia with my fam­ily. Upon com­ing back, I de­cided to put up my own busi­ness. I felt there was a big op­por­tu­nity to open a brew­ery, and I wanted to pro­duce some­thing of high qual­ity, un­like big com­pa­nies. I wanted craft beer but one that is af­ford­able.

With big beer com­pa­nies, for a time, they were the only ones avail­able. Craft beer stepped in but be­cause of pro­duc­tion lim­i­ta­tions and ause of higher qual­ity raw ma­te­ri­als, it had to be sold at a steeper price. We want to cap­ture the au­di­ence in be­tween, be­cause cer­tain price points cap­ture cer­tain mar­kets. We want to reach a much big­ger market.

What are your days like now?

Busy and jump­ing around. We have a part­ner for this, an Amer­i­can brew­ery that’s fo­cused on the tech­ni­cal side. At the mo­ment, I’m more fo­cused on the mar­ket­ing and the brand­ing, and my wife is help­ing me with the brand­ing and the launch. The great thing is I get to work with fam­ily and friends in terms of ser­vices we are out­sourc­ing. It’s a great ex­pe­ri­ence be­cause we know each other and we’re on the same boat when it comes to how things should be done.

What’s the story be­hind the brew­ery’s name?

It’s some­thing that the lo­cal cul­ture can re­late to. We went for the Filipino spell­ing of engkanto rather than the Span­ish one be­cause we wanted some­thing re­lated to lo­cal mys­ti­cism and folk­lore, and how they trans­formed over time. Older gen­er­a­tions were ac­cus­tomed to [telling and re-telling myths and leg­ends]; nowa­days, we don’t know them so much. It’s the same with what we’re do­ing with beer: tak­ing Filipinos back to what it was and show­ing them what it should be, with higher qual­ity and dif­fer­ent vari­a­tions but still cater­ing to ev­ery kind of market. How can we in­tro­duce change to a per­son who’s been drink­ing beer for 40 years with­out over­whelm­ing him?

Aside from their four drafts, Ian Paradies is plan­ning to of­fer sea­sonal beers like a cho­co­late stout and light da­lan­dan beer.

Brew­mas­ter Josh Karten

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