måndag 4 november 2019

Alf frågar om Cask - Jorvik, ölimportören som specialiserat sig på Cask

När jag satt på Bishops Arms Bellmansgatan för en tid sedan så dök det upp en svart van på gatan utanför förnstret.

Det var Cask-mobilen från Jorvik Estate som kom till handpumpens undsättning!

Att det serveras Real/Cask Ale på ett fåtal platser i Sverige är knappast något hipsterfenomen, det brukar vara rätt lite skägg som hugger på de handtagen. Jag är ingen storkonsument av denna underbara ölform, men när jag besöker de pubar som har handdraget så är det sällan jag lämnar lokalen utan att ha testat minst en.

Under SBWF2018 så fanns det en monter som serverade Real Ale, Värmdö hade både egen cask och gäster i montern i form av öldragare från Jorvik Estate (även om jag inte fullt ut uppfattade det då!?).

Det faktum att det kördes Cask-festival på Haket i Göteborg tidigare i höstas ser jag som ett sundhetstecken, även om jag fortfarande får rapporter som antyder att intresset för Cask är dåligt på Västkusten. Att årets festival i år hade med bland annat Landlord från Timothy Taylor gjorde nog fler än jag lite blöta i brallan av lycka. Min vana trogen så kom jag dock inte ner till årets festival heller. Däremot nåddes jag av glädjande besked att just Landlord nog skulle dyka upp lite mer lättillgängligt framöver, detta tack vare importören Jorvik Estate.

Jag tänker köra några Cask-relaterade inlägg framöver, både tester och intervjuer med branschfolk och konsumenter.
Jag började att skicka några frågor till Jeremy Duxbury på Jorvik Estate.

ALF TYCKER OM ÖL (ATOÖ); How long have you been in business in Sweden? Previous beer-business?
JEREMY DUXBURY, JORVIK ESTATE, (JD, JE); I came here in 2000 to run American Express’ computer systems, back then I was a Guinness drinker as there was not much else available to a born and bred Yorkshire cask drinker, this is partly the reason that I started bring Yorkshire beers into Sweden and why I built my own cask pub at our farm in Örbyhus, The Flying Pig, you can find it on Facenbook, I don’t advertise but after 3 years we now get 60-70 people coming to our pub days over the summer months, we normally run 2 or 3 of them..
I have brewed my own beer for over 30 years, always as an amateur, I have brewed the same six or seven ale recipes for all that time, and have pretty much perfected them, you  cannot keep changing what you brew and be any good at it, you have to get to know your equipment and this can only be done by brewing the same beer and getting it to taste exactly the same as the last batch, that is the mark of a proper brewer J. I am not a big fan of all the new ‘additives’ that modern breweries are putting in to something that was just fine without them J A chocolate stout is about as modern as it needs to be for me.

ATOÖ; History about the name Jorvik Estate?
JD, JE; Jorvik is the old Viking name for York, in Yorkshire, I thought I was being very clever when I chose the name, however it seems Swedish schools don’t teach Viking history much these days as not many Swedish people had ever heard of it, lol. I grew up in this part of the world and was lucky enough to be surrounded by an ale brewing tradition dating back over 300 years. We have never been short of a good pint in Yorkshire.

ATOÖ; How many pubs do you deliver to now? More coming?
JD, JE; Currently we have about 40 general customers and I think around 14 cask customers, we have installed 12 Angram hand pull units this year and were asked by Elite Hotels to try to get more of their Bishops Arms Pubs working with cask ales. I think in Sweden that you have to chip away with new ideas until they reach that point where their own momentum takes over and literally overnight everybody wants whatever it is you are selling. Looking forward to the rush.

ATOÖ; Interest among venues for Real/Cask Ale? Stockholm/Sweden? (Haket Cask-festival)
JD, JE; Fredric at Haket is a regular customer, we went down and gave a talk to his club about the history of Black Sheep and the Theakston family of brewers from North Yorkshire. Maja Kozul, at Bishops Arms Plaza in Malmö was asked by a journalist who comes in her pub if she, through Jorvik, could get Timothy Taylors cask, she gets her first delivery of Landlord and Landlord Dark (the new branding for Ram Tam) on Thursday this week. Last year we joined Värmdö Bryggeriet at the Stockholm beer festival and ran 6 real ale taps, one was a collaboration between Värmdö and York brewery which we organised during a visit to Yorkshire where they got to understand a little more about the difference between a session pint and a stor stark. We have worked closely with them and they produce a couple of cask ales on a smaller system they have. Completely different recipe for the same beer to go into keg and cask, or probably should be.
The big issue for most pubs looking at cask is the sales window, traditionally when you tap a cask you have 4-5 days to sell it before it turns, a bit like opening a bottle of wine, as you probably know.
However, today we quite often install what is called a ‘breather’ or ‘Aspirator’. This is a valve system that links up to the pubs CO2 supply and to the pegged hole in the cask and lays down a blanket of CO2 at atmospheric pressure, thereby halting or vastly slowing down the oxidization process, the manufacturers claim the life extension to be up to 21 days, depending on cellar temperature I think that it is possible to achieve at least 14 days, which takes the pressure off the pub to move a 41L/9 gallon cask over one weekend.

ATOÖ; Interest among customers for Real/Cask Ale? In Stockholm/Sweden? In Stockholm we have five or six pubs that serve real ale (two of them Cask Marque-certified). I know there are some pubs in Gothenburg and at least one in Malmö that serves real/cask ale.

JD, JE; Jorvik are the assessors for the Cask Marque in Sweden, I assessed Akkurat last week. Bellmansgatan Bishops is also applying and Aardbeg embassy in Gamla Stan also has it and is locked in to Värmdös ales. O’Neill’s in Uppsala is hoping to be the first there soon. They installed their first pump last year and we have just put a second one in last month as demand for cask ale is growing. Micke Thörnqvist at The Bishops Plaza in Gothenburg and Maja in Malmö and starting to move quite a lot, Maja particularly. It does need care and attention though, you cannot just throw it over the bar, Northern ales should be pulled with a sparkler on the pump which creates a good tight head that should stay all the way down the pint if someone is not drinking too slowl.

ATOÖ; Again about the interrest for Cask, from what I've heard (from brewers and customers) is that in Gothenburg (beer-capitol of Sweden!) the interrest is quite low still. Not saying that Cask-consumtions is all time high in Stockholm, but we'we had Cask for some time now... ;)
JD, JE; As with any new product in a pub, it takes drive from the pub managers to really get it moving, we have seen sales double in GTB and Malmö. With more and more hand pumps going in, Bishops in GTB ordered two new ones for January, I think it will start to be a sought after style, just now there are not many Swedes who could confidently say exactly what ‘cask ale’ is. Let us not forget that Sweden is lager country, so cask ales will never become ‘the’ drink but I do think it’s popularity will definitely increase among the true beer lovers. 

 ATOÖ; What about England (Scotland, Wales, Northern and Republic of Ireland)? CAMRA is giving up against craftbeer-invasion...?
JD, JE; CAMRA is embracing the new craft ale breweries. It cannot ignore it’s own definition of styles which does mean that many of the ‘apricot, milkshake, salty caramel’ type beers will never be recognised as anything other than novelty and specialist beers by CAMRA. However, that still leaves many others that some modern breweries have chosen to step over in favour of more ‘firework’ recipes;
Bitter, Best Bitter, Mild, Brown Ale, Ruby Ale (Irish Red), Strong Ale, Blonde, Pale, IPA, Dry Stout, Baltic Stout, Milk Stout, Porter, Specialist Porter (Chocolate etc.)

ATOÖ; You have seven brands in your catalogue now, is it full or possible expansion? Best Seller? I love Tripple Chocoholic! <3
JD, JE; Website being updated as I write, currently we take from:
Saltaire, Leeds, York, Ilkley, Black Sheep, Allendale, Rudgate, Boss Brewing and Timothy Taylors.

These were not picked because they were the only ones who wanted to sell in Sweden, a couple I had to convince, we are the only export market for the UK’s favourite pint, Timothy Taylors Landlord, appart from a couple of casks that go to one pub in Denmark), they were picked because I know they make exceptional beers, multi award winning breweries, which says a lot because in Yorkshire there are more craft breweries per capita than anywhere else in the world. I am in touch with the next wave of breweries I want to add, but will probably stick to the Northern styles I think, it is what I know best.

The Black Sheep Monty Python beers sell well, although, you are picked out an exceptional beer with Triple Choc, occasionally it comes in cask and when it does, Oliver Twist in Stockholm can sell 41L in a matter of hours. The Ruby beers are fairly popular, especially at this time of year, Rudgate Ruby Pale (Champion Beer of Britain back ‘09) Yorks Centurion’s Ghost is excellent, each pub does seem to be a little different from the others, Maja probably sells the most traditional beers, along with O’Neill’s, they sell a lot of Black Sheep Special Ale. Pubs with a slightly younger drinker move the Ilkley beers better, these are a bit more on the modern side, more hop presence – ‘different horses for different courses’ as we say in Yorkshire J.
Saltaire Titus, a 3.9% bitter, won the Systembolaget tender last year and is doing OK in their stores. It is a bit difficult to improve the selection at Systembolaget as the different ale styles are not recognised by them, so we are currently in a league table against things like ESB and Guinness and far stronger beers which remain popular largely because of their alcohol content. In a group of beers that doesn’t exist within SB of 4.2% or less we are leading the field, but with current sales being compared to very different beers we may drop from 70-80 stores down to 7 or 8 in March, despite having sold over 100% more beer than the tender predicted we would. I guess when you are a monopoly you don’t have to focus on what your customers want quite as much as you would in a competitive market place.

ATOÖ; How will Brexit affect your importbusiness?
JD, JE; The logistics company I use ships to Norway every week, they are all ready to go to process Customs Entries rather than EMCS (EU) movement documentation, so I have absolutely no problem getting my beers over to GTB where it lands today, I have, however, received absolutely no response from the Swedish Tull/Tax office to explain how things may change on this side of the journey. Currently I move stock ‘in bond’ not paying alcohol tax or Moms until I sell it, it may be that I have to pay that up front after Brexit if we are not n the customs union, I just don’t know as the Swedish authorities will not answer the question J

ATOÖ; Skinny Brands - One lager, one margarita and one Cosmo (beer or cocktail?), I found a Cider (at Untappd) as well. Vegan friendly beverages! I'm not vegan my self, but my guestwriter Filip is hardcore-vegan.
JD, JE; We are the Scandinavian agents for Skinny Brands, one of the directors came from York Brewery, which is how I came across it. They have dropped the cocktails and are focusing on the lager and cider, the cider will be available in a 330ml very soon. We have a permanent listing in Supermarkets in Finland and it is selling well in Norway. We tried to get it onto the SystemBolaget bestälningslist last year but were pushed back for some very unfair arguments by their legal department, this was despite them accepting the Spendrups Bright which has 100% illegal marketing on its can. I am currently awaiting a reply to my question about the Spendrups beer from the legal department now, think I may have a long wait:

Skinny Lager, Gluten Free, vegan friendly, kosher compliant and the lowest calorie, carb and sugar beer at 4% in the world (I think that is still the case, we have new branding for it now too, looks really good)

Thanks to Jeremy, for the answers to my questions and all the great beers you serve us!

Nästa Cask-relaterade inlägg kommer nog att handla mer om Göteborg.

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