Recently, Slate magazine published an article about the craft beer scene and industry in South Korea. For the article our head brewer and the man responsible for navigating this boat called Galmegi Brewing Co., Stephane Turcotte, was interviewed along with other heavy weights in the Korean craft beer scene. If you’re interested in Galmegi Brewing or the Korean craft beer scene, click the link to the article below to read the article.
Here are a few quick excerpts from the article:
A quick introduction as to how Galmegi started (and a nice compliment for us and our brewing brothers and sisters over at The Hand & Malt Brewing Co.)
In 2011, Turcotte, who is always in complete beer-nerd mode, formed a home brewing collective in Korea, getting other home brewers to pool their money together to purchase quality equipment. Before the law passed, when Galmegi had first opened as a brew pub, Turcotte had an arrangement with Ka-Brew (now known as Kapa Brewery), one of the other breweries today that was and still is a major contract brewer for many of the craft beer pubs. Turcotte sold and relabeled Ka-Brew’s beer as Galmegi beer in order to create brand awareness. But when Turcotte wanted to use Ka-Brew’s facilities to start brewing his own recipes, he was told he would have to wait in line. There were too many brewers and so few fermentation tanks.
Today, Galmegi, which has its brewery in Busan, and the Hand and Malt are producing some of the best beers in this nascent craft beer nation. Both breweries make an IPA that could confidently sit on shelves beside most of the celebrated American-made varieties.
Stephane about selling big, aggressive North American styles to South Koreans:
“People always said to me, ‘Man, you’re crazy. You’re trying to sell IPAs to Koreans. They drink shitty lagers.’ But we noticed right away all the Koreans are drinking [craft beer], especially the women.” (The distinction that women were leading the craft beer movement in Korea was reiterated by Do and the owner of Reilly’s Brew Pub in Seoul, too.) Meanwhile, Galmegi’s IPA (not counting their double and rye IPAs) outsells their hoppy pale ale two to one. “Look at Korean food,” Turcotte notes. “They have huge garlicky and spicy flavors.” In other words, they are ready for beer with taste.
Stephane about the needs of a brewers guild to represent craft beer interests in South Korea:
Turcotte adds, “What we’re missing is a brewers’ guild to help make sense of the laws,” pointing to the San Diego guild that banded together to educate customers and work with local legislators, leading to the creation of one of the best craft beer locales.