Brewing in Singapore

One man's adventure of brewing beer in Asia.

Friday, February 16, 2007

Media Mania

The preamble:

There are many things about brewing in Asia that make it fun and exciting (mostly I am just glad to be brewing again, but there are other things as well).

Back in the day, when I was a brewer in the early 1990’s in Seattle, there was a huge buzz about micro & craft brewing. It was a new and exciting concept - a small local brewery. People treated brewers a bit like hometown heroes. When I went to a party and was introduced to people as a brewer – the reaction was always “Wow, a brewer, that’s cool ! How’d you get to be a brewer?” Of course back then there were maybe 300 people in the whole of the US who actually made beer for a living. It was a rather uncommon profession. In the ensuing 20 plus years since then being a brewer has become somewhat less of a novelty. Back then the thing that most of us (most of those 300 or so brewers) really wanted, what we all worked together to help achieve, was that every town (big and small) across North America have its own local brewery. Over many years that goal was realized, but at the same time we unwittingly diminished our own sui generis. The profession of micro brewer became less unusual and our status (at least at parties in Seattle) became somewhat less elevated. And I have to admit – I liked being unique and interesting at parties - I missed it.

Thus when I was offered the opportunity of moving to Southeast Asia to help develope a micro brewery “revolution” there, I knew that I was being offered another chance to help create something unusual - and once again be sort of .... especial.

Little did I know what I was getting myself in to.

The Point:

The purpose of my blog is to tell you (the avid reader) about my experiences of brewing in S.E. Asia. And the media has become a major part of that experience.

Asia Pacific Breweries (APB) is a BIG company, they have a really good media & communications department. Those folks have worked hard to get Archipelago Brewery tremendous media coverage. The results have been a bit amazing. In the first 3 months our brewery and products were featured multiple times on television and radio, and in dozens of newspapers and magazines articles. It was not uncommon for me to give two or three interviews a week. It was hectic but kind of fun too. I thought that all the attention would be short lived, that in a few weeks, maybe a few months, things would calm down and go back to normal - but the coverage has not waned. Each time we bring out a new beer, or do a special event the interest is renewed. And now there is a fourth Micro brewery in town (The Pump Room) and that has caused an even further increase in interest. Even as we near the one year mark the request for interviews continues unabated. I am still doing an average of two interviews a week.

I think that it is a combination of several things – Micro breweries are new and different, Singaporeans are very food and beverage conscious, APB does a great job of interacting with the media and small brewing has became a near global phenomenon. It is a whole new facet of my job and it makes it all that much more exciting.
It's not your usual brewer routine - press conferences, speaking engagements, photo shoots, talk shows, a PR handler (who, BTW rules) - it's all a bit surreal. One would never get this kind of attention in the States or Europe today. I must admit - I find myself enjoying the attention.

Now, If I could just get invited to a few more parties.

Below are a few links to some of the media coverage. (you may have to cut n paste the URLs),9171,1590182,00.html


At 9:19 PM, Blogger budak said...

enjoyed the dark "Java" you created: a rich malty/hoppy blend!

it would be great to get more people around here to start seeing brewing as an activity that is truly convivial and realise that there is much more to beer than the usual big bland brands...

At 2:06 AM, Blogger Monkey said...

have always enjoyed your beers and your blog since budak recommended it last year. so you can imagine how pleasantly surprised I was when I popped by the NUS Museum and saw your work there! :) very very cool! :) Beer exhibited as an art... indeed! wonder if that's a first in singapore :)

At 7:29 PM, Blogger Fal Allen said...

Thank you both for your comments. It is great to know there are more beer lovers out there. If you would like to meet other people interested in the beer and brewing scene here in Singapore I recommend the home brew club meetings (second Wednesday of every month) and iBrew. Two fun groups of beer lovers from all over Singapore.



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