Supporting Your Local Craft Brewery
Hong Kong has seen craft beer consumption grow steadily over recent years. Supermarkets are boasting a wider selection of beers more than ever, which hints that the everyday consumer has begun making specialty beers a regular part of their lifestyle. The vast majority of the beers available have been imports, but local brands have now gained some real estate on the shelves. Today, I will be talking about the importance of supporting local breweries, and their position in the market.
Origins, Roots and Pride
Local brands often style themselves as such, taking local concepts, history, culture and weaving them into the business story and products. This is a natural part of societal evolution, where a community of people develop a rich history – starting simply from a flag and national song, and further on into growing and preserving elements of culture and heritage. Beer is an important part of a society’s culture – and future generations will inherit from us, the beer landscape which we vote for today. Beers made around local cuisines, events and people tell a story, which wins over a faceless, heavily marketed brand whose focus is on volumes, margins and market share.
Distance to Consumer
Locally brewed beers have the clear advantage of being fresher. They bypass the logistical barriers of taking four to eight weeks of leaving the brewery, getting on a boat, being unloaded and passing through multiple hands before reaching consumers. The element of freshness is very clear in hop forward and delicate beers, where aging is most detrimental to flavour. Although many foreign brands are highly rated and sought after, the best beer in the world is often the freshest beer you can find.
Keeping Money In
Buying local helps to keep the money within the community, and craft breweries frequently buy, collaborate with and hire locals. Industries which are needed to support breweries will grow, such as logistics, construction, graphic designers, food and beverage services. Supporting independent businesses instead of the chain stores brings about further benefits such as community relations and economic responsibility, where society becomes more conscious of the impact of their spending. Although Hong Kong does not have a long history of beer, the young assistants who persevere through will eventually become the brewmasters of tomorrow. This will pave the way for brewing to become a recognized and respected profession.
Being more connected with the product
Staff and owners of local breweries are generally approachable and happy to engage in conversation about their produce. People can visit the brewery and gain a deeper appreciation for how beer is made, and the roles which the ingredients play in the finished product. Heavy marketing and capitalism has driven us to buy into mass produced goods and convenience, and supporting local is a balancing force, bringing back the appreciation of artisanal craft.
Sustainability Many craft breweries are concerned about their impact on the environment and take measures in reducing their waste output. These range from recycling spent barley into animal feed or fertilizer, selling excess yeast to produce marmite and repurposing old equipment and installations into décor or furniture for new uses. Energy and fuel costs required to ship beer across oceans are also eliminated by purchasing locally made produce! Many imported beers rely on plastic single-use kegs for distribution, while local produce arrives in re-cleaned stainless steel kegs.
At the end of the day, people and relationships matter most and the bigger, more noble idea is to buy local and invest in community, roots and the future. With Hong Kong’s beer scene continuing to grow and mature steadily, it is only a matter of time before local beers gain recognition on an international scale as world class.
本地品牌通常風格為本，將本土理念、歷史、文化、故事轉化為商業產品。一個社會進化 —— 從社區發展出豐富的歷史、從旗幟和國歌開始，發展成為文化和遺產，而啤酒作為社會文化的重要組成部分，其生態和文化將由後代將繼承。啤酒總離不開本土的美食、活動和人物，述說著不同的故事，因此它能大量銷售，帶來利潤和市場份額。