Michele Santi and brothers Beppe and Mario Allasia co-founded Birrificio Pinerolese in 2007. The following year, drawing inspiration from the German, British, and Belgian tradition, they launched their first high and low fermentation beers – the former for the coldest months of the year, from November to March, and the latter for the warmer seasons.
In June 2012 they opened “Remembeer”, a brewpub in Pinerolo meant to evoke wonderful memories, as the pun in the name suggests. For this interview, we asked them to remember how their love for beer making began.
“We discovered a passion for craft beer in the mid-1990s, when the first microbreweries in Italy were opening,” they say. “But we had been interested in brewing since the early 1980s, when we found out that there were many more beers out there than the few brews available in Italian supermarkets. We discovered there was a world of high-quality beers that was timidly trying to make its way in our country at the time. With the very little information we could carve out of the rare books published on the subject at the time, we set to gather all the equipment we needed to produce our first homemade beer. It was not easy… nor was it legal at the time. We used malt we had made ourselves, wild hops, and baker’s yeast, and let everything ferment in a very expensive, 30-liter wooden vat. Needless to say, the first results were not particularly encouraging.”
Yet you persisted…
Yes, fortunately we did. Over the years, the Internet helped us learn much more, and in 2007 our hobby became our job.
What are your beers’ distinctive features?
We avoid any kind of filtration, microfiltration or pasteurization, and allow for lengthy processes like decanting yeast in vats and cellar aging. We also have two brews that are particularly tied to our local territory: “Kiki” is an amber beer with a hint of Piedmontese chestnut, and “Dike” is a pale lager with the special touch of some traditionally local apple varieties, grown under the tutelage of Slow Food presidia. Finally, our work method is based on respect for nature’s cycles and pace, and we believe that makes a big difference.
Is your job harder than others?
Making craft beer is not easy. Four basic ingredients – water, barley malt, hops, and yeast – can be combined to produce an almost infinite variety of beer products. Brewing requires a relentless thirst for knowledge and unlimited passion for new experiments.
Is it worth it?
Yes, it is. Craft beers made in Italy, and in Piedmont in particular, have been awarded many international accolades. The extremely high quality of Italian craft beers won over a more mature audience at first, but is now seducing twenty-somethings as well. We are proud that our products are never associated with exaggerated consumption, but with responsible and enjoyable drinking.
What are your sales goals?
Our beers are not sold in supermarket chains. Perhaps we are old-fashioned, but we feel a connection to Turin’s late 19th-century industry, in which breweries had their own bar for resale. There used to be approximately one hundred at the time, allowing the city to meet the needs of its inhabitants in every neighborhood. We wanted to give continuity to that legacy, fostering the link between our products and the local territory, with its events, festivals and fairs. Those are all occasions for us to meet people directly and give them the chance to taste our beer.