Mauro Mascarello – co-owner and head of production at Birrificio Torino – tells us that the Piedmontese capital “had a number of ‘birrarie’, as they were called in the day, that produced their own brews”.
Birrificio Torino, a stone’s throw from the central Piazza Castello, gives continuity to that long history and deep tradition of beer in a land of winemakers. Mascarello and his three associates co-founded the company in 2001, “in the face of huge obstacles, at first, tied to institutions’ and banks’ complete ignorance about the field; they should have supported the project, and instead ignored it completely”.
Located inside a former early-1900s’ factory, the Birrifico Torino microbrewery and brewpub now offers its “live” products to an enthusiastic clientele, who dine and drink – the beer is fermented in vats inside the same building – until late at night.
It looks like everything went well, after those first challenges…
I think so. Today we can definitely say we had a good idea back then. And there is no stopping the craft beer movement: in 2001, we were the twenty-seventh microbrewery to open in the country; now there are almost one thousand!
Did you always have a passion for beer?
My family is originally from the Langhe, were wine tradition is dominant by far. But I always liked beer and the culture connected to it.
It’s a culture with deep roots in Turin…
It is. Unfortunately it was interrupted at one point: when we opened, the last old-generation brewery in Turin had been closed for fifty years. The tradition of craft beer had disappeared, and our goal was to bring it back to our city.
You have a successful, but difficult job…
Making beer is a very complex job, and requires great passion. Our philosophy is to create “easy”, drinkable beers using strictly selected ingredients and linking each brew to different dishes.
Do you plan to expand? Abroad, perhaps?
For the time being, local demand absorbs our entire production, and we have no room for more equipment – so we would have to move to make more. We are thinking about the foreign markets, but we like to take our time… in pure Piedmontese fashion!