A new micro brewery called Fredrikstad Mikrobryggeri (with Nøisom Craft Beer as the brand name) has been started in my hometown of Fredrikstad. The brew master Stig Lundh is a friend of mine so I had a chat with him about the newly started brewery and their plans:
When did the plans for starting a micro brewery in Fredrikstad start, and how long did it take to realize them?
The idea had been floating around in the back of my head for about a year before we established the company, on December 12th, 2012 (we actually had the meeting at 12 Noon!).
We all agreed that the quality of the beer brewed by the local home brewers was quite high, so why not give everyone else the chance to buy them at their local pubs? Norwegian alcohol policy is one of the strictest in the Western world, so if this was to be a reality, these forces would have to gather in a commercial brewery, with all consents and paperwork in place. Our goals was not to start a brewpub, but a brewery that will focus on brewing the best beer possible.
When the company was established and some of the most qualified and dedicated home brewers in the local beer scene joined in on the project, everything went pretty fast. It only took about three months from when we started until we had signed a lease and ordered the pilot brewery. From the beginning of April we had started re-building the premises for the brewery, and some time in June we hope to be able to start brewing there.
Since we don’t want to start our own pub, we have teamed up with a new local pub in Fredrikstad called Havnelageret Gastropub. It’s much easier for a place that is already allowed to serve beer, to get the consent to brew beer as well. Because of this we have brewed some of our beer on the premises of this pub to begin with. The pub opened May 7th 2013, and it had Nøisom beer on tap. For us it was important to launch our beer commercially, before being ready to ship our beer from the new brewery.
We will develop our products ourselves, and since there are so many talented people working with us we will be able to brew and launch some really interesting beer!
What sort of equipment are you brewing with?
The pilot brewery consists of a 500L Speidel Braumeister, 4 yeast tanks, and 8 conditioning tanks. This was by far the best choice with regards to the current location and financing.
What sort of beer will you be brewing? Will you brew both low and high alcohol beer?¹
We will brew high alcohol beer (ABV >4.7%) in the beginning until we feel we have the new equipment under control. As a small brewery that aims to sell our beer in pubs in our part of the country, we will be providing beer for beer aficionados and people new to craft beer. At first we will only deliver kegs to the pubs, as being able to bottle beer involves a big cost, and requires much more work.
We will also brew lower alcohol beer (ABV <4.7%) but probably not within the first year.
Will FMB/Nøisom have a flagship beer from the get go?
Too early to say. We want an entire fleet of ships with equally large flags! I’m guessing that we will make some seasonal beer, and that the brewers will brew whatever they want to brew from time to time.
If everything goes according to plan, where do you see FMB/Nøisom in a couple of years?
In 2 to 3 years we hope to extend our capacity and market share significantly. The brewery we have now is a pilot brewery and has its limitations. This makes the start of this adventure less risky, easier to finance, and easier with regards to consents and permissions. We hope that by 2015 we have a new brewery with new equipment that will open some time in 2016, that enables us to brew batches up to 5.000 liters, with a yearly production of around 500.000 liters of high quality craft beer.
Where will the public be able to try FMB/Nøisom beer?
In the beginning people will be able to buy our beer at local pubs and restaurants. The first pub that will serve our beer is Havnelageret Gastropub in Fredrikstad. This will be our arena for introducing new beer to the public. We hope to be able to sell our beer at other locations in our part of the country as well, but we haven’t started this process yet. We would also like to try and brew beer tailor made for some of our potential customers.
And that’s that. Expect more news and information about this brewery on this blog in the future!