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Authentically passionate, passionately authentic

We have taken a look at the new magazine 2/19. And there we found loads of interesting articles: like a report about the Taihu Brewery. And because we immediately started browsing, we want to share this rediscovery with others. Here, however, there’s space for only a brief summary; there’s more about the subject on the magazine article.

“We at Taihu Brewery are extremely adventurous and creative. When it comes to developing recipes and designing labels, for many of our beers we take inspiration from Asian culture,” explains Peter Huang, one of the firm’s original founders and today its General Manager. For instance, the brewery likes to surprise the market with innovative approaches, such as tea-flavoured beers or sours with smoked Taiwanese plum. But for the brewing process itself, by contrast, the craft brewers adopt a stringently scientific approach: “Our brewery is like a laboratory, in which we rigorously test every step, every altered ingredient, and keep detailed records. Our paramount goal is to continually improve our beers. We never brew the same beer twice: sometimes we alter the fermentation temperature, sometimes we use new hop varieties. You see, we never regard anything as perfect, we’re always striving to become even better,” he explains.

For these trials and small brews, Taihu has installed a Steinecker MicroCube. With its size of ten hectolitres, it’s ideally suited for trying out new combinations, and these beers are subsequently tested for popularity in one of the firm’s own six taprooms in Taipeh. If a recipe proves successful, Taihu can then use its CombiCube B in the brewhouse to make batch sizes of up to 50 hectolitres.

Sufficient capacity for more brews

Taihu produced the first brew in the CombiCube B during April 2018. Initially, the output was running at about 1,000 hectolitres per month. “But we definitely have quite a bit of capacity in reserve: with the equipment installed, we could easily produce five times as much,” says Peter Huang. And even though Taihu is not yet running at full capacity, the boss is very satisfied with the brewhouse’s performance: “During the commissioning phase, there were a few challenges we had to master, but since everything’s been properly adjusted, the line has been running superbly. We attached major importance to high efficiency and flexibility, enabling us to upsize the output at need, thanks to shorter brewing times – and that’s precisely what the CombiCube makes possible. We’re really very satisfied.”

Bucking the trend

The above-mentioned zest for experimentation, creativity and dynamism is reflected throughout the entire team. In the shape of Winnie Hsu, Taihu possesses a Head Brewer who’s already clocked up more than eleven years of experience in the craft beer business: “We’ve been incredibly fortunate to find such a brilliant team. Winnie is probably the only brewer in Taiwan with such lengthy professional experience in craft brewing, and she brought quite a few other superbly competent people with her. But in our sales, design and marketing teams, too, we have unbelievably talented, highly motivated staff,” says the proud proprietor. More than 90 people are meanwhile employed at the Taihu Brewery, of whom approximately half are responsible for beer sales. “Here at Taihu, the proportion of women is extremely high. Brewhouse, Sales, Finances – our entire management team consists of women. We’re a progressive company, and support many social causes that our team believes in, for instance the LGBT movement. Last year we launched a beer whose proceeds go to the homo-, bi- und transsexual community here in Taipeh.”

Meeting up in the taproom

The craft beer market in Taiwan is still a relatively small one: Peter Huang estimates the number of breweries at about ten. Taihu ranked among the pioneers, since its taproom in Taipeh, opened in 2014, was the first to serve exclusively craft beer. The principle involved was a simple one: no food and no chairs, just craft beer. “We wanted to do more than just serve beer, we wanted to bring people together,” he explains. Successfully: Taihu is meanwhile operating six different taprooms in Taipei – with more to come.

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