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Beer — quality and culture of beer consumption

Now in Russia it is forbidden to sell beer stronger than 5% in non-stationary outlets.

From January 1, 2013 absolutely all beer should disappear from the stalls. Since July 23, beer is forbidden to advertise on television, radio, outdoor advertising structures, on the Internet and on transport.

And from January, a ban on beer advertising in the print press will come into force.

How tougher legislation will affect beer producers and consumers and, in general, beer culture in Russia Gastronom.ru spoke with the main brewer of the Moscow Brewing Company Mikhail Ershov.

Michael, admit, do you solder the nation?
In Germany, the Czech Republic, Great Britain, France, Belgium, the level of development of science and industry is higher than in Russia. At the same time, beer in these countries is consumed many times more than ours.

This suggests that when a person has a good job, he always knows how much to drink, so as not to lose this job. He comes to a bar, drinks a couple of mugs with friends and goes home.

He doesn’t get drunk.

And in Russia, many people are sure that it is the brewers of all who solder. However, a fool may choke in a cup of tea.

I recently went to work in a taxi. And the taxi driver, having heard that I needed to go to the brewery, began to accuse the brewers of soldering the people.

He complained about his fate: he used to be a beer alcoholic — he drank a box a day, lost his family and work because of it, but he quit drinking and was cured. In response to his accusations, I asked: did you become an alcoholic yourself, did you heal yourself too?

What is my fault?

How do you feel about the so-called one and a half?
Polyethylene terephthalate bottle (PAT) — not the best packaging for beer. And the point here is not in volume, but in the matter of preserving the quality of beer and its taste properties. While in our country, the question of the stability of the taste of beer doesn’t bother anyone, manufacturers will pour beer into PET bottles.

Meanwhile, beer in PET bottles undergoes continuous oxidation, as oxygen penetrates into the beer through the walls of this container.

The correct container for storing beer is glass or can.

All the benefits of PET boil down to lightness. When people go on a picnic, they are uncomfortable to carry a heavy box with glass, they try to take a maximum of beer with a minimum of packaging.

Yes, such a beer in PET will survive the entire shelf life declared by the manufacturer, but in the end the consumer gets oxidized, dead beer.

If the consumer likes to drink such a beer, this is his right.

And the manufacturer apparently likes to offer such a beer …
Demand creates supply.

If our consumer refused to drink beer from PET bottles precisely because of the loss of quality of the drink, then beer factories would stop producing beer in PET.

But the consumer is not familiar with the peculiarities of beer storage and possible defects that affect the quality of the drink.

If people educate and in general develop a culture of beer consumption, then over time they will begin to understand.

Small breweries can take the lead in this process, as is the case in Europe. People become patriots of their brewery.

In addition, they constantly monitor the quality of beer, because if it is spoiled, it will immediately reach the technologists and brewers.

However, at the moment in our beer market there is a dictate of large corporations … What is their situation with the quality of raw materials?
If corporations leave the market, there will be no beer in Russia at all.

Now about the quality. Already someone, namely corporations can afford to purchase and use high-quality raw materials. However, this may not affect the quality of the beer.

The point here is in the tasks that puts the leadership of the corporation. If the task is to reduce the cost, that is, to produce the most resistant beer with the lowest possible losses associated with water consumption and the consumption of heat and electricity, then it is on this start to work.

Note that in this concept of production there are no options such as the taste profile of beer or the portrait of the end user.

What are your company’s objectives?
We came to the beer market later than all other companies, when large and famous players were already present on the market.

Therefore, our main and primary task is to make beer tasty, only then it will win its consumer.

How can you save on the quality of beer due to its components?

It is widely believed that beer can be somehow diluted or kept less than the prescribed period..
If the manufacturer has saved on the time of exposure of beer, it can always be felt in the first place in the taste of the drink.

However, if a consumer is satisfied with such a beer, he likes a product that is not particularly mature, which means that the producer has hit the mark, and it makes no sense to withstand beer for a fixed period.

And if this is an unconscious choice?

Maybe the consumer simply doesn’t have a taste guide because he’s been offered rubbish all his life?
To some extent it is. But recently the situation is changing.

People began to travel more, go to beer countries, they have new impressions about the taste of beer.

As a result, they want to drink not oxidized and tasteless beer, but a quality drink.

Their opinion can spur the brewing industry as a whole.

If you look at the dynamics of beer production in Russia, in recent years new interesting varieties have appeared.

And this happened not because the brewer decided to cook a new interesting variety, but because the consumer wanted this variety.

Anyway, the opinion of consumers develops the beer industry.

If you do not put the brewing industry steps, then the culture of beer consumption will grow. Medium and small breweries will appear in the right quantity …

And what about the monopoly on raw materials?
For me, as a manufacturer, this is terrible, because there is no choice in such a situation, the monopolist dictates its own conditions.

This is unacceptable!

If beer is transported as a concentrate or brewed from a concentrate, is it possible to talk about quality?
I have never come across the fact that beer is brewed from concentrate. But even if such a concentrate existed, the production of beer would be fabulously expensive.

After all, to begin with, the concentrate would have to be prepared on an industrial scale, for example, for brewing one batch of beer, 21 tons (!) Of malt are needed.

And this is not all: in order to deliver the required volumes to the plant, tanks with concentrate should go by rail continuously, almost around the clock.

Even if we assume that the supply by rail will meet the needs of the plant, astronomical figures will turn out — this is the price for malt and for the production of beer wort, plus the cost of electricity for the production of concentrate and do not forget about transportation costs.

Looking at such a chain, you can make sure that making beer from concentrate is not cheap.

The process of beer production over two thousand years has not changed, it is so logical and simple that it does not need to use any concentrates.

Are preservatives added to beer?
Beer already has natural preservatives — alcohol, carbon dioxide and hops.

In addition, the beer is pasteurized in the production process. What else should be added, what preservatives and why, because there are no bacteria in beer?

Beer is a fermented product, there are no fermentable sugars, which means that microorganisms have nothing to eat there.

Usually, preservatives are added to lemonade, but only because there is sugar, and this is a favorable environment for the development of bacteria.

How to distinguish good beer, are there any universal quality criteria?
There is often confusion with beer — people transfer personal taste ratings to the quality of the drink. Instead of saying “I don’t like this beer,” they say “this beer is bad.”

On the other hand, beer, which is pleasant to the consumer, always has certain quality characteristics necessary for him — color, aroma, taste.

But there are generally accepted quality criteria for the manufacturer.

These criteria are specific to each variety.

For lagers, these are some indicators, for ales — others.

There are still criteria for the safety of raw materials.

This is the absence of radionuclides in the raw materials, pesticides, that is, all that can harm human health.

The second is the microbiological stability of beer, it should not turn sour, should not be acidic. And the third parameter is the absence of foreign bodies in the package.

The oxidation products themselves are harmless, but if they appear in the taste of beer, then this is a defect of lager.

If the taste of lager feels honey or apple flavor, then it means that beer at one or another technological stage was in contact with oxygen.

If fermentation was not carried out correctly (according to the abbreviated scheme), then diocetyl will remain in the beer, whose readings will be significantly exceeded.

Such a beer can be recognized by the taste of margarine or butter, for some ales this is normal, but for lager it is a defect.

That is, for each beer there is a set of parameters.

On the other hand, if a taste defect can be reproduced from batch to batch, then it ceases to be a defect and becomes a characteristic of a particular brand of beer, its characteristic or chip.

What do you think about the dominance of lagers in our market?
Lager is a light, refreshing beer, people willingly buy it. But as such, the dominance of the Lagers does not exist. In addition, lager beer is an indicator of the class of the plant.

Not every plant can produce pure lager, all beer defects in the camp will be immediately visible, since lager has a very pure taste. It is always easy to hide a defect in a beer with special salt or caramel flavors.

You can’t hide anything in the camp.

For example, lagers dominate in northern Germany, and more wheat beer in Bavaria.

This is a matter of culture. We, for example, produce wheat beer «Ottinger Weiss» (OeTTINGER Weiss), but it is practically not for sale, because for Russia it is too specific.

Some people are sure that beer is not brewed from wheat at all. It turns out that the consumer is an indicator of the manufacturer. If consumers buy lager, then they like it and it does not make sense to produce something else.

It is possible to fill warehouses with stout, but it is likely that he will remain there forever.

In the Czech Republic, too, they drink mainly lager beer.

Czech beer culture is closer to us: we used to be in one social camp, Czech breweries were built in the USSR, Czech beer was imported in large quantities. For this reason, our consumer knows very well Czech beer and Czech style, and these are lagers.

Our people are not so tempted in the same stouts or ales, simply because they were not there.

If only ale were imported to us, now nobody would look at the lagers.

How will, in your opinion, a ban on beer advertising on its sale and consumer culture?
I am a brewer and this question is not entirely to me.

On the one hand, advertising is the engine of commerce. On the other hand, there is an example: our Zhiguli Barnoe beer has become popular without advertising.

On the third hand, we will lose a lot of beautiful and creative advertising.

In the social aspect, we can say that now a certain layer of beer lovers has already formed in our country.

They appreciate beer for taste, they try new varieties, they appreciate it and will drink it without advertising.

As for the ban on the sale of beer in stalls, for example, beer in a stall is more expensive than in a store. As for storage, it is often in stalls that grossly violate the rules for storing beer.

In summer, the beer is warm or, on the contrary, ice cream — in order to cool it, it is put in the freezer.

But in general, how will legislative toughenings affect beer producers?
Higher prices will lead to lower production volumes.

The law itself is crude, it was accepted quickly, but how it will be implemented is not clear.

What will lead to a rise in beer prices?
A rise in beer prices is sad; Beer should be available. I agree with Vyacheslav Mamontov, indeed, many people, comparing the prices of beer and vodka, of course, switch to vodka. But such people value the effect of alcohol, rather than its taste.

Vodka sells itself, it does not need to advertise.

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