A new year, a new beginning
24. February 2021


Welcome to the first issue of the SBR in 2021.  At the beginning of a new year, we’re generally filled with hopes, ambitions, and expectations. And, for most, these are based on solid plans and projects founded on knowledge – or at least qualified assumptions – of the markets they operate on and the general conditions that govern them. All these ‘normal’ conditions are, however, as we’re all painfully aware, null and void as far as 2021 is concerned. The uncertainty about what the New Year will bring is as total, roaring, and unprecedented as can be imagined.

When the corona crisis hit us a year ago, none of us had imagined that, come the New Year, things would not be back to normal and also that this ‘normal’ would not be identical to the one before the crisis. A year down the road, it will be hard to find believers in that scenario – we all know now that, when a new ‘normal’ eventually establishes itself at some unknown point in time, it will be significantly different ‘normal’. But we’re all in the dark with regard to what ways our ‘general conditions’ will be different. In our own isolated sphere, it is unclear how many of our colleagues and competitors will actually survive the crisis. And how badly damaged will they be economically, and how will this impact their future activities?  But the most important question, to which we, for obvious reasons, will not know the answer to before it hits us, is how the year plus of living under tight restrictions will affect consumer behaviour, once consumers are free to do as they please again. 


As there’s probably, at this point in time, no question that is more essentially relevant to all our futures, in the short term as well as in the longer term, few of us can help pondering over it to the point of exhaustion. But I wonder what the point of this really is. I’m convinced that regardless of how many elaborately thought-through scenarios you may produce, they will all be far from what the reality will be – simply due to the complexity of the multitude of factors influencing customer and consumer behaviour. Also, I anticipate that the gradual or sudden ‘tide change’ that will happen when all the forces that have been locked down for more than a year will be set free again will most likely result in a series of paradigm shifts – rather than just one permanent one – during the months and years that follow. Thus, my best advice to you – whoever and wherever you are – is: Be prepared for anything and everything!    


So, how does your humble technical editor of the SBR act with regard to how to deal with this?  Well, quite simply by ignoring the topic entirely! Anything that would indicate that our contributors or myself have anything relevant to offer you in relation to how you as a stakeholder (of whichever nature) in the brewing- and soft drinks industries could or should prepare for what is to come would be preposterous! Thus, as far as the contents of this issue of the SBR are concerned, we’ve stuck our head in the sand! Ignoring all those overwhelming existential questions, we fall back to our ‘raison d’etre’: Providing you with a hopefully inspiring mix of educational, informative, and entertaining articles on topics – large and small – with relevance to our industries, corona crisis or no corona crisis!  


Our focus on beer styles and beer history continues with articles on Farmhouse Brewing in DK (Part 2 – by Lars Marius Garshol) and the first part of an article by the renowned British beer writer Martyn Cornell on Porter and Stout Brewing in Scandinavia. On the educational front, we bring you the next chapter in Tim O’Rourke’s ‘Back to Basics’ series, premiering here in the SBR. Here, it’s time for the second and last part of the article on ‘Enzymes in Brewing’.  And I’ve chosen to supplement this with the article, scissored from Brauwelt International, titled ‘How enzymes can help brewers’.


Another article from Brauwelt describes a ‘New Brewhouse and Cellar Project’ carried through at the Jopen Brewery in the Netherlands. Closer to home, we bring you the encouraging story about Finnish Sinebrychoff and how they, within a year, will have made a full shift to renewable energy.


And we bring you the last part of the article, ‘co-written’ by Michael Eder and myself on ‘Aroma Development During Barrel Aging’ – ‘co-written’ meaning that I scissored a finished article from Brauwelt and supplemented it as I saw relevant. Again, this article/topic is supplemented by a fresh and brewer-focused article from the US Brewers Association’s American Craft Beer Ambassador to Europe, Lotte Peplow, called ‘The Subtle Alchemy Of Barrel-aging’.


On other product-related topics, we bring you an article from Norwegian beer writer Lasse Lukacs on Norwegian Amundsen Brewery’s collaboration with UK’s iconic Big Drop on an alcohol-free beer. And a good introduction to the concept of Hard Seltzer, called ‘A somewhat different water’ by German cold sterilization solution provider LANXESS. 


Finally, we bring you two insights into individual brewing companies – each at their extreme end of the scale: The highly enlightening story by Ina Verstl on ‘AB InBev in choppy waters – 5 years after MegaBrew’ as well as a story by the Danish equipment supplier, Bryggeriudstyr ApS, on the installation of a new 800 L brewery in Illilusat on the west coast of Greenland.


Finally, our usual reminder that our offer of free subscriptions to the SBR still stands (go to https://scandbrewrev.dk/subscribe/ and sign up). So, why not tip a few friends about this offer? With more than 200 new subscribers/readers thus far, the success has made us extend this offer to last through June 2021, and we’re discussing making it permanent with the board of the DBF, our owners in Danish Master Brewers’ Guild. 


Please remember that we at the SBR always very strongly encourage you to comment on anything at all in the magazine, incl. the editorial.  Please forward your comments to anders@kissmeyer.dk.


Anders Kissmeyer

Technical Editor

Scandinavian Brewer’s Review