Recently Cygnus, a home brewed Bitter Ale with Maltese Carobs and Black Cardamom was reviewed by “The Craft Beer Hub”, a UK based YouTube Channel which was doing a three-part special on the Maltese Craft Beer scene.
Compared to other European countries Malta has a relatively young beer history which right now is evolving. From only one local brewery and mass-produced beers, we have seen craft beer being produced locally and the local market developing a taste for craft beer.
In all these Maltese beers there is one thing missing. A Maltese flavour. We don’t even have a recognised Maltese Beer Style. The islands cannot commercially grow barley and hops but there are other flavours that represent the islands. For the past six years, I have been using my passion home brewing beer, cooking and engineering to get Malta in a pint. From using Maltese Bitter Oranges (Tal-Bakkaljaw) in a Rye Saison to the most daring ones such as brewing a Figolla Pastry Sour beer with actual Figolli and a Carob Bitter Ale. Got even around growing hops and propagating wild Maltese Beer Yeast cultures leading to the creation of Malta’s first fresh hopped and wild fermented beer.
Positive responses got me working on the idea of setting up a brewery. Quickly found out that setting up a business from a passion is no small feat. One advert on Facebook changed everything. The advert was promoting the M.Ent at the University of Malta. The course led by Prof. Russell Smith, Prof. Juanito Camilleri and Prof. Phillip Wragg is an absolute treasure trove of knowledge and mentoring. Each day challenging my business idea allowing me to effectively shape it and best use your know how, IP and people network to your advantage.
The most valuable tool thought is the Incumatrix. Effective in assessing the business concept and charting the best route to get your value proposition to the target market. Networking between the students and alumni was encouraged. You never know who can help you out or challenge your business concept for it to become more robust. The TAKEOFF business incubator is another priceless asset where through valuable mentoring from Ing. Joe Bartolo led me to pitching and winning a TOSFA grant to be used in purchasing brewing equipment and get proper Maltese Soul Beer flowing.