Aaron Grieser’s World of Craft Beer
With a big dream and passion for beer, Aaron Grieser started a new life on the other side of the world.
Initially hesitant about getting in the spotlight, Aaron had to be eased into spilling his story in a beer-fueled chat.
“I grew up in a place where the modern craft beer movement started, the city of Oregon, U.S.”, he said.
His company’s name Beervana came from the nickname of Oregon, as a small city yet packed with more than 100 amazing breweries. There craft beer started about 35 to 45 years ago, along with innovations made in growing hops, the main ingredient of beer.
Hops in beer is the bittering agent which provides flavor. The farmers in Oregon invented different kinds of hops that tasted like mango, pineapple, citrus, pine needles, grass, marijuana and many more. It may have started slowly, but nowadays craft beer is the talk of the world.
Even though he started brewing in his teenage years, Aaron began his adult life by becoming a corporate lawyer while watching his childhood friends chase their dreams of setting up their own breweries.
In the legal line of work, he traveled around the world and found that beers were lacking something. “The German beer, for example, their beer is fantastic and the apex of a style, but it is only one style in the open universe of beer,” said Aaron.
He explained that Reinheitsgebot law unnecessarily limited the style of beer that people could brew in Germany; from his perspective, it’s more a shackle than an advantage.
One time, when he was working on a project in Bangkok, he found himself ready for a life change. He was still complaining about beer every night until one of his colleagues had enough and told him, “Dude, shut up and do something about it.”
He took a leap of faith, resigned at the age of 28 and traveled around the world for a year to catch up with craft beer trends and learn how to do business. He then returned to Bangkok and there Beervana was born.
After building a solid business and growing a team for five years, contributing to the developments that have resulted in craft beer now being everywhere in Thailand, he decided to turn to a new area: his wife’s home country of Indonesia.
He did some research and immediately figured out why Indonesians, despite the big beer enthusiasm, were not yet familiar with craft beer. “The rules in Indonesia are extremely difficult and make it tricky for Indonesia to be a good beer scene,” said Aaron, whose team spent one and a half years of securing a license before starting to sell the beer in Indonesia.
Nevertheless, now Beervana is here and has made a promising effort to introduce craft beer. According to Aaron, Jakarta and Bali have completely different markets, but both show good signs of progress. “It is going great and maybe we have now already spread around 3,000 bottles for a handful of clients,”said Aaron.
There will be several interesting events from Beervana in the coming months. They are planning to make a collaborative beer event among beer importers: a one-day international beer festival where people can go booth to booth to taste different beers.
They are also preparing for a craft beer masterclass. “It will be all about the ingredients in beer, and then we will do sensory testing of different kinds of beer, then the brewing process and how it contributes to the flavor, and end it with some knowledge of how to judge beer of international competitions,” Aaron explained.
Aaron also shared his dream of creating a craft beer food pairing event with local Indonesian food. He mentioned several foods like rawon and kerupuk that he thinks would be perfect enjoyed together with beer.
Currently, Beervana distributs two brands of craft beer, Anderson Valley from the U.S. and Tuatara from New Zealand, in Indonesia. We can find them spread around restaurants, coffeeshops, bars and lounges in Jakarta and Bali. I am interested to see what is to come.
Aaron believes in the future of craft beer. “It is an open and endless creative process which a good way to make beer enjoyable for everyone, which is happening right now in Singapore, Hong Kong, Sydney, Tokyo, the U.S., Europe, all over the world.”
“In the next three to five years, craft beer will be the norm. It’s going to be everywhere”.
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Photos by: Beervana