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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.

 

Afterword

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.

支持本土手工啤酒廠

 

起源、植根與榮耀

近年來香港手工啤酒消費量穩步增長。超市比以往有更多的啤酒,這暗示大眾已經開始將特別的啤酒納入生活習慣的一部分。 絕大多數啤酒仍是進口的,但本土品牌已經在貨架上佔有一定位置。今天我將談談支持本土啤酒廠的重要性,以及他們的市場地位。

 

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。

 

跟消費者之間的距離

新鮮是本地釀造啤酒的明顯優勢。他們無需經歷四至八個星期的長途運送、卸載,避過多重的轉手,直達消費者的手中,這對於一些以啤酒花或者精細度為賣點的啤酒更為關鍵。 外國品牌雖然受到追捧,但世界上最好的啤酒,通常是近在咫尺、最新鮮的啤酒。

將資金留在社區

支持本土有助於把錢留在社區內。手工啤酒廠經常跟本土掛勾、合作、並僱用本土員工。這樣一來,如物流、建築、平面設計、餐飲服務等跟手工啤酒有關的行業都會有所增長。支持獨立企業而非連鎖店,將為社群關係和經濟責任帶來助益,消費活動帶來的影響將會更為明顯。 雖然香港啤酒歷史不算悠久,但假以時日,那些堅持不懈的年輕助手將成為釀酒師。這將為釀酒得到尊重的職業鋪平道路。

 

跟產品更多連繫

本地啤酒廠的員工通常都樂於向人介紹他們的產品。公眾可以參觀他們的啤酒廠,深入了解啤酒的製作程序、以及各種原料在啤酒中的作用。 營銷和資本主義驅使量產和便利化,而支持本土正是一種抗衡的力量,重新引領我們欣賞手工啤酒的精細。

可持續性

許多手工啤酒廠都會關心環境問題,並會採取措施減少排廢。從回收大麥用作飼料或肥料,到銷售過量的酵母以生產馬麥醬,或者將破舊的釀酒設備翻新成家具。購買本土生產啤酒更可省下運送所秏費的能源! 此外,許多進口啤酒需要用到即棄的塑料小桶儲存,而本土產品則以不銹鋼小桶儲存。

 

後記

說到底,人與人之間的關係才是最重要。購買本土產品、投資於我們的社區,根源和未來,是遠大的想法。 隨著香港啤酒市場不斷發展,假以時日,我們將成為世界級啤酒城市。