Ø: La apertura del brew pub Barna-Brew en Sant Antoni tuvo lugar en marzo del año 2017, Ø: The opening of Barna-Brew brewpub in Sant Antoni took place in March 2017, but long before that you were already brewing beers from your own recipes in places like Brouwerij Anders! or More Malta. How do you remember that first stage and when did you decide that it was time to take the next step and start brewing in your own facilities?
Alex :As anyone who has done such works before, they take a lot longer than you imagine, and especially in my case as someone who had never overseen such a project.
So although there seems a gap between our first beers at Brouwerij Anders! in 2014 and 2017, we always had the idea to open a brewery here. We saw our Anders experience as a testing ground for our ideas, and how the market would react. As we had both the amazing response from festivals and markets we participated in, as well as winning the the gold medal for the Moreneta Blonde at the Brussels Beer Challenge in 2014, that gave us the impetus to go forward and set up our own brewery.
After that began the long story of finding the right location, financing and ordering equipment, and doing the works.
Ø: Barna-Brew has its perfectly defined leitmotif, which in my opinion is a strength that sets it apart from other proposals and increases its brand value: modern beers inspired by Belgian styles intimately connected to the local Catalan tradition. Although, on the other hand, a few months ago you launched the SantonIPA, a NEIPA in collaboration with Ratpenat Cervecers inspired by the popular American style. Do you think that the key to the success of any brewer lies in maintaining the balance between a recognizable and clearly identifiable line of beers without refusing to explore other proposals or styles that can be considered more trendy?
Thanks for the compliment! We will always stick to our idea of Belgian style beers with a local Catalan twist - and our Moreneta series with the Blanche, Blonde and Brune will be sacred, and which we hope to distribute in bottles in the future - but obviously you have to listen to your clients, and always look to innovate.
For example, we already had our dry-hopped Moreneta Blonde on the menu, and many people looking for a hoppy beer were loving it, but the amount of people asking for an “IPA” became so much we made one and called it “Ceci N’Est Pas Une IPA”, staying true to our Belgian surrealist traditions :) In general I think that the variety of styles Belgium has to offer will never limit us, and on top of that new styles get invented (A Belgian IPA did not exist as a concept say 5 years ago).
Our SantonIPA was a great opportunity to work with Albert from Ratpenat who has strong links to our Sant Antoni neighbourhood. We even managed to add an ingredient which Belgians always love to do, in this case being lemon peel.
As for what is the key to success, well we are happy with doing things this way, but that is not the only way- some breweries focus on having novelties constantly, and others have recognisable ranges which now they try to complement with trendy beers, and others have trendy beers and now introduce ranges of more accessible beers.