Beer Stories: Craft Beer Industry Insights

Founder of Brew Asia (Formerly SEA Brew), Charles Guerrier

January 16, 2023 Hosts: Mischa Smith & Alex Violette, Guest: Charles Guerrier Season 1 Episode 5
Beer Stories: Craft Beer Industry Insights
Founder of Brew Asia (Formerly SEA Brew), Charles Guerrier
Show Notes Transcript

In Episode 5 of Beer Stories, Alex & Mischa talk to Charles Guerrier of Brew Asia about a range of topics, including how he started the South East Asian Brewer's Conference (recently renamed Brew Asia for 2023), why he loves visiting Saigon so much, how much and how quickly Brew Asia has grown, the Vietnamese Craft Beer Industry, how you deal with armed guards storming your conference in a foreign country, getting started on Belgian beers, the fluidity of beer styles in the modern craft beer market, off-flavours vs. on-flavours, the spirit of community that arises around craft beer in different countries, and the importance of winning awards. They also run the spectrum on The Hangover Check and Charles comes clean in the latest installment of Fact or Fiction. Cheers! 

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Mischa Smith:

Welcome to another episode of Beer Stories. This is a podcast about beers. Our, producer is Niall Mackay of Seven Million Bikes podcast. Our theme music was composed and performed by Lewis Wright. My name is Misha Smith, my co-host, as always, alex Violet. How's it going, Alex?

Alex:

Oh, it's going well.

Mischa Smith:

and our guest today is the, founder, owner operator, ceo, mad genius behind Brew

Charles Guerrier:

Asia. Probably stick with a founder. That's probably this. Okay. Easiest way to go. Yeah.

Mischa Smith:

why you chose Saigon as the first time outside of Singapore to host the conference? Yeah.

Charles Guerrier:

I mean, you, you guys, you're kind of the leading city. This is really the beating hearts of the craft industry in Southeast Asia. So, so we thought, Hey, we're better to go. I tried home brewing and I, my background is running bars and it's not, it's not brewing itself. And I've tried brewing twice, both with disastrous, disastrous consequences. but my last, my last attempt at at home brewing was I was brewing an ipa. and after three weeks, four weeks, I said, okay, it's time to taste it out. First time I brewed a beer for 40 years, here we go. Let's have a taste. And I cracked it open and I'd made this beautiful cider As we're working with the suppliers when they're running presentations at the show, we, we really work harder than say, look, don't just stand there and do a presentation. Pay the brewers the respect that they can work out what you do. Teach something, help them with a problem cuz that's what they're gonna remember.

Mischa Smith:

our guest today is the, founder, owner operator, ceo, mad genius behind Brew

Charles Guerrier:

Asia. Probably stick with a founder. That's probably this. Okay. Easiest way to go. Yeah.

Mischa Smith:

recently renamed from, uh, sea. Yep. Yep. We're gonna get into, we're gonna get into that.

Charles Guerrier:

Charles, thanks for coming on. Oh, thanks for having me. I'm, excited to be here and you just sprung this on me, so it's nice to, nice to come around this afternoon and have

Mischa Smith:

a chat with you guys. Speaking of springing things on you, First, the fastest growing segment in podcasting today, the hangover. So I'll go first. I actually woke up this morning. I knew, obviously, I knew we were gonna record the pod today and the first thing I thought was, how hungover am I? What's the hangover checking to be like? So that was a few hours ago. it's a Sunday morning. We're recording. At the time I was thinking it was like a 7.1. I was like, this is not bad. But then after a couple hours of marinating on it, I'm gonna go like an 8.1. I stayed a little bit later last night than I was planning.

Charles Guerrier:

Yeah, it, it is one of those, when you check your phone, what was the last thing I sent last night? And okay, there's a time check on it as well. I was like, oh no. I got home the other night. this was my first night in town and. I look, I looked back the next morning and I know it'd been a late one, and, and, I pulled up my WhatsApp and there was a picture of Uncle Ho outside the, outside the Parliament building. Yeah. And, and, and then the note under it was, he's still looking Relend at two 30 in the morning,

Mischa Smith:

Oh, no. So, Charles, what if you had to put a number on your hangover this morning? How, how were you?

Charles Guerrier:

Um, actually not too bad. Okay. It's definitely. And it's, it's hovering in the background. I'd say it's probably 5.20. Okay. That's not bad. Well, I found an old, an old, Mosley bar in my bag on the way over, so I hoof that down. So I've had something to eat already, which is

Alex Violette:

okay. Alex breakfast? I'm at a zero today. Oh. Oh yeah. No drinking yesterday and about nine hours of sleep. So feeling great.

Mischa Smith:

Oh, good stuff. Refreshed and ready to go. our producer Niall doesn't have a mic on, but I think he was just feeling pretty rough this morning as well. that's been the hangover check brought to you by, So Charles, we're here today to talk about, brew Asia, and then we've got some other stuff we're going to do later on. But just start by telling the people, what is Brew Asia? Where were you in your life when you. Thought of the idea to make this at the time, Southeast Asian Brewers Conference.

Charles Guerrier:

It, it all, it all started and the whole idea behind the show is it's a community show, so it's to get everybody together to, to bring'em all together. You know, we, we take the opportunity to run workshops, seminars, we have a trade fair as well. So, you know, if we got all the brewers together, then you know that we can get the supplies in as well and they can catch up with the brewers all at the same time. The reason why we started it was, was really we, we were running a craft beer week in Singapore back in 20 14, 20 15, and it, it was tough. It was, it was not a sustainable, not a sustainable business model in those days because it was still the very early days of the craft industry. And we, and we felt that, you know, the only way that we. make it sustainable and keep it going was to run more events ourselves as opposed to rely on other people to run events during the, during the, during the week. So we then said, okay, well let's bring some brewers in and we can do some, some training and we can, you know, take them to outlets and, you know, we can get, get some staff involved and they can learn a bit more about craft beer. And, and we, we thought, okay, well as we've got these guys in town, why don't we get everybody together at the same time and have a bit of a little conference going. So that started off 2015. I think we had our first one and it was, it was literally, it was, it was a backroom of, I'm not sure if you guys are familiar with Brew Works in Singapore. Yep. And yeah, it was in the back room of Brew Works. It was a little like the beer hole push going on. We were in the back room of Brew Works all, you know, thinking about wonderful things that the industry can do. And and you know, listening to, listening to stories from brewers that we brought in. and then, and then it evolved. Then we started, started kind lend footprint down. and it's evolved with what it is today, which is, yeah, 70, 70 people. In 2015, we had, what, 670, almost 700 people, in Thailand this year.

Mischa Smith:

You mentioned, and it gets mentioned at every conference, how small it was the first year you guys did it, and like how far it's come. So is there, do you have like a moment that you remember when you're like, Oh, this thing, it's working actually. Like this is a real thing that we're doing. Like, cuz I'm sure at first it was like, oh, is this gonna, you know, any new concept was like, is this gonna go or not? Like, what are we doing here? Was there like a moment where you were just like, oh yeah, we're good?

Charles Guerrier:

Yeah, I think it's when we, the first one we did overseas, so we started in Singapore and then, 2017 we came to Vietnam, come to it in Saigon. And that's when we suddenly saw people coming in from all over the region. I think it was the first time that we'd split into, different tracks. So we had two different rooms running. yeah. And, and, and also it was really the first time that the evening started going. So we started seeing a social calendar develop around the conference. And for us that's really important to have that, you know, if everyone's coming to town, they come to the conference, what do they, what do they do in the evening? You, what, what can they do? We just don't wanna go, okay, at six o'clock everybody go to bed, we'll see you tomorrow. Yeah. They want to get out, they want go around town and, the brewers in Saigon really got hyped it, and they put on events and things in the evening and, and suddenly it was like, oh yeah, this is, this is gonna work. People are having a good time. They're enjoying it. Yeah, they're coming in, they're actually making it in the morning into the show. and they're, uh, yeah, they're going out in the evenings and they're really seeing what's, what's got, I mean, Saigon's gone awesome, awesome city. I mean, it's, there's so much going on here and it's nice and compacted as well, isn't it? So it's, it's, it's, yeah, it is easy for them to get around and, yeah, we all, hey, this is, this is really a model that can work and we can grow and we can build.

Mischa Smith:

I think you kind of answered it already, but maybe you could just, selfishly, obviously Alex and I both live in Saigon. We love the scene here, we love the city. That's why we live here. But can you speak a little bit about, why you chose Saigon as the first time outside of Singapore to host the conference? Yeah.

Charles Guerrier:

I mean, you, you guys, you're kind of the leading city, particularly as we're starting in Southeast Asia. This is really the beating hearts of the craft industry in Southeast Asia. So, so we thought, Hey, we're better to go. You know, we're, we're better to start off than, than a city like Saigon. you, it's, it's lively. There's vibrant, and I, I keep on going on about this whenever I come in here, but, you know, Saigon and craft beer just match really well. Mm-hmm. you, you've got, you know, call it Saigon, call it Hojimin for those overseas. That's the city we're talking about. but it's, it's a heritage city. It's got a lot of history to it. beer is a heritage product. There's a lot of history to beer. We've been brewing beer for tens of thousands of years. but also it's an upstart product. You know, it's energetic is an upstart, it's exciting. And that's what, that's what Saigon is. There's so much energy in the city, that they really marry really well together. So we thought, Hey, what better place to, to bring the show once we've, you know, decided to step out Singapore, start going around the region, you know, Saigon's an awesome city to, to come to.

Mischa Smith:

Hmm. So that's to anybody who doesn't live here or hasn't been here. When people ask me what it is about Saigon, that's, energy is the word that I always like. It just, it's got its own energy and you can't really describe it to people. Like, you just gotta come and see what it's like. Yeah. And once you're here, so many of my friends have come from Canada to visit, and as soon as they're here, they're just like, oh, I get it. Okay. Like, I understand why you're here now. I never, I was like, Vietnam, what? As soon as they get here, they're like, oh, okay. This

Charles Guerrier:

makes sense. Yeah. There's such, it's such a buzz about the place. Exactly. I mean, you kind of, you just, you, you wander around and you dunno what's going on side streets and you, like, yesterday I decided to walk out to District 10, so it's about an hours walk from the center of the city and you, you take your life and your hands walk on the road Here it's It's not a great walking. But it's just fantastic. You're going out there and, and you're looking in the shots and you're, and you're seeing people get on with everyday life and, and then there's, yeah, there's, there's a nice bar, there's a drinking hall and a beer hall. You know, there's so much going on. Everyone's sitting down having coffees as well, you know, every five meters there's a coffee shop. So it's, it's a real buzz about the place. As long as, as long as you don't get run over, won't get down the road.

Mischa Smith:

Don't get captured.

Alex Violette:

Thinking back to going to Singapore and I think it was actually 2015 was the first one, but it was, a festival in competition. That year, it wasn't formally a Brewer's conference, and it just naturally happened at the tables. We were all sitting around setting up our beer, pouring apparatus and getting our signage correct. And, um, we were all judging beers together for the beer competition. And it kind of turned into a defacto sharing of knowledge with all these brewers in one spot. And, uh, it was really special. I think that was actually, uh, the first time that my daughter ever poured draft beer was at that festival. And it was just like this awesome experience on the bay in Singapore. It was this like, beautiful view. And, it was really cool to see like craft beer. It felt, like craft beer had made it like this was like an awesome, very legit venue where people were interested in it. And, and every step of the way when you're bringing craft beer to parts of the world where it isn't popular yet, you're thinking, is it gonna work? And that was one of those moments where I was like, This is probably gonna work.

Charles Guerrier:

Yeah. We, yeah. We are going places now where you knows we got a festival out there, things are happening. No, it was, it was, it was a great festival. It was a lot of fun

Alex Violette:

and, and especially in Saigon, I think that energy that, that people bring to just all the aspects of life, it really meshes very well with trying something new with these really flavorful beers with, uh, stories behind it. yeah, really excited to. To have it

Charles Guerrier:

coming back. Oh, yeah. We can't wait to get things going. And

Mischa Smith:

to anyone who doesn't know Brew Asia, 2023 is being held in Saigon, HoChi Min City, our home in Native Land. Uh, and we're really excited to have it here for the second time. can you speak a little bit about that decision to come back to Saigon instead of like maybe doing Hanoi or, I know Taipei was scheduled and then canceled from Covid.

Charles Guerrier:

but, um, yeah, it's to, To come back here again. What we find is the brewers here are very positive. they really want to show off the city, so we know we can rely on them to, to put on a, put on a good show around the conference. so, so it is really, to, to kick off. What we're gonna be doing. yeah, to kick off the new show, to get everything rolling again. Yeah. We thought, Hey, let's come, let's come back here. is that dynamism? We, we were looking at Hanoi, but it's a little bit more spread out. It's a bit harder to get around, when you're doing things in the evening. and, and as with venues, I mean, it's, it's becoming more and more difficult now for us to find a venue cuz we, we run the show with a fairly small team. So we, we traditionally have held the shows in hotels because the hotels all their staff on, on hand and they can help you out. So trying to find out a hotel that can fit, you know, we, we'd expect kind of 800, 800 plus people to becoming, next year to try and find a hotel that can, can fit that and can also fit a trade farin as well. It's, it's, it's getting harder and harder and harder. So, you know, we expect over the next few years it is gonna be more difficult. Cuz we, we, we have a, as far as, I guess as far as trade fairs go, we have the most stupid model you could possibly think of. Because we, we move every year. So, so every year we're running around, oh, where, where, where can we host it? Where can we hold it? And you know, tra trade fairs traditionally cut and paste, cut and paste, cut and paste. And they do the same thing every year. They go to the same, same, exhibition hall. They go to the same hotels and it's just the same, the same, the same. And we, we, when we set out, we said, we don't wanna do that where you want to do this for the brewers and we want to move the show around. Cuz the brewers want to go to different cities. They want to experience a culture in different cities and get, get inspired. You go to the same city every year. You don't get inspired by it. Just, okay, we're going out there again, we're going there again. We're going there again. But new cities, you know, it invigorates

Alex Violette:

people. I, I think it's great for the, the brewers as well. I'm just thinking about when I was starting professionally in craft beer in the United States in like 2007 ish. And the Craft Brewers conference in the United States, that was where you wanted to be. And if you, were based outside of whatever city that is, then you would send like maybe the founder of your company, the, the ceo, the brewmaster, maybe somebody from your marketing team. And it was expensive. It was, you're a small business and, and you, you had to make choices on who you'd get to send, but then when it was in your city, literally everybody that works at the company got to go. So it was really cool. Um, you know, we can send a small amount of people to go when it's in Bangkok, but when it's gonna be in Saigon, literally everybody that works at our company can be part of these events and, seeing that community. So the moving around I think is really cool, just even for that respect.

Charles Guerrier:

Yeah. Yeah, definitely. Definitely. It gives everybody opportunity to, to come to the show, which I think is really important. It's, it's, it's all that, that community building, it's, it's about getting everybody together. That's, I would say that's the most important aspect of anything we do with the show. That's the most important thing is it's how do we include people? How do we, how do we, how do we get them

Alex Violette:

together? That was also one of the highlights of my year when I was getting into craft beer professionally, and I got to go to this conference and it was like, wow, these are the guys that have like built it up. Everyone's here, and it was this, almost surreal experience to be around all the people you had looked up to in the industry, and everybody is kind of, on the same page, treating each other as like equals and the conversations are really engaging. So, yeah, I think it's great that, that it's something, just like that in Southeast Asia. I guess All of Asia now with it turning from the sea. By the way, is Southeast Asia not like the ocean for our eyes? International listeners

Charles Guerrier:

that Yeah, that was, that was always a little bit of a problem with the name because, yeah, I know what it means cause I made it up. but we'd have people call it s e under s e, or what is sea? You know, is it, is it a shipping conference? We'd have to explain. It's Southeast Asia Brewer's conference. and yet, because now more and more people are coming. Okay, we can turn it to Brew Asia. Well, it says, does what it says on the box, doesn't it? Brew is a brewing conference. Asia is all about Asian brewing,

Alex Violette:

but it's amazing. When we were, getting past Air Street started, I had never imagined that something similar to that would be going on in Asia. And yeah, thanks to you. I mean, I think it's really, it does a very important part to bring the, the beer community together and realize like, why we're doing this, why, like, what's the point? Because we're having fun and we're sharing these amazing beers with people. And, you know, throughout the year you can get stressed out. You're working on these different things and then once a year you go and you reset. You see all of your old friends. Everybody's just excited about beer. And I it just kind of reins inspires the beer community. Every year after that, you come back just really pumped up about what's the next great flavor? How are we gonna share those with the most

Charles Guerrier:

people? It's, it's, it's that positive reinforcement, isn't it? That, that, yeah. I'm doing something right. Yeah. I, I'm turning up to show For us it's important. Yeah. The show grows every year because, You guys then come in and, and you go, oh wow, it's bigger than it was last year. Oh yeah. The industry's growing. And you see that visually. You see the industry growing and it's not just people working in pockets, it's just, oh yeah, it's coming together. The industry's growing and they get that reinforcement that you're doing the right thing, you're on the right track, and then you can go home and you can come up with new ideas.

Alex Violette:

and, and even the, um, the, the community aspect of having like an award show where everyone is there, watching the awards come out and you see it when these, these smaller brewers that are really passionate that, um, that everybody in the room kind of knows and they win a medal that's like, you hear the room just explode. Like, yes. Like these new guys coming in and like making great

Charles Guerrier:

beer. Yeah. We, we, we thought, cause we, we, we were thinking how do we. Ultimately we want to turn it into a, into a full on kind of, an evening experience where everybody's at the tables and this year we had half tables, half, half seating along your back. and we're trying to work out how do we allocate tables? You know, do we, do we do, we, let companies have tables? And that was the original idea. We say, okay, well you've got a company has a table and they can invite their friends to their table. And we thought, no scrap. Scrap that. Scrap that. Let's go national. Because then it gets everybody together in their own country. And then when somebody wins something from their country, the whole table goes up and everyone has, everyone has a big chair and a shout and obviously everyone else around the room is still still clapping and cheering. But you get these pockets of, of energy just bursting out and when, when people win awards. So that's really, that's really fun. Yeah.

Mischa Smith:

That was awesome to see. Like you could, you could tell which countries were more supportive of each other. Not that anybody wasn't, but like you could tell like just some countries, whenever anyone from that country got an award is like the loudest noise in the room. And like those guys really love each other and they're really excited that, I think it was, I think it was Thailand that was, was like they were, and obviously hometown, like it was in, it was in Bangkok, so it wouldn't make sense that they had the biggest representation. But yeah, anytime any Thai brewery won an award, it was just, the room went nuts. It was massive. It was awesome.

Alex Violette:

I thought it was especially cool too. Um, Because when I was getting into that and in the, at the World Beer Cup and Great American beer fest, like you would be in this room and it was a hall of the public wasn't allowed because there was literally like 4,000, 5,000, 6,000 brewers that were possibly winning medals. So it was like a stadium just filled with the people who could potentially go on stage. And it was like this, this, this medal, this thing that you would get and you would get to fist bump Charlie Papazian. And everybody wanted that picture of like fist bumping Charlie and getting your medal. And he stopped doing that I think like two or three years ago. And, and I was kind of sad. I was like, I'm never gonna have that opportunity again. And then, him coming out to speak at that conference and then volunteering to go up and like fist bump some people when they won some medals and having like, our assistant brewmaster get to have that experience. I was just like, this is, this is amazing. It was really cool

Charles Guerrier:

experience. Oh, I'm glad. I'm glad you enjoyed that. Yeah. Because we asked Charlie to if he could give out some of the awards and he said, yeah, but I don't shake hands because people get, people get a bit excited. Yeah, they get excited and they're a bit, a little bit clammy and they're like, grabby and he said, yeah, I started fish bumping a long time ago. I just, I just keep it at the fist bump. Yeah. And at

Alex Violette:

Great American Beer Fest it would be like 400 handshakes from like the most excited person ever. So I'm sure your hand like starts to hurt at some point.

Charles Guerrier:

Yeah, I think, I think he went home with sunburn for the amount of photographs people were taking off. Everyone was like, Charlie, we take a photo, take a photo. He was a great sport. He was, again,

Mischa Smith:

I personally, I was more excited about the Malan Haja fist bump. I love that guy.

Charles Guerrier:

Yeah. He got, he had a, he had a terrible, terrible last evening in, in, in Bangkok. Like I called him up on his way to the plane Malan Haja he's a Lebanese guy brewing in Australia. And, he went out with one of the, one of the suppliers, who's a vegetarian and taking a Lebanese fella to a vegetarian restaurant. He, he basically, I called him up in the morning and said, oh yeah, how was it? Everything. Everything. Okay. Thanks for coming to the show. Yes. Oh my God. He took me a vegetarian restaurants, It's, I can't believe there was this malnutrition on the plate. He said, there's no meat. What's he doing? There's no meat.

Mischa Smith:

It's not specific to Lebanese. I think I would've the same reaction. So just real quick ma story, cuz it happened to come up in my newsfeed, the other day. we were attending a, a beer topia in Hong Kong, years ago. It's a Hong Kong craft beer festival. And, uh, he, and we were using the same distributor at the time in Hong Kong. So, you know, we met and we talked. I got along. We, we have, similar, constitutions, I think. And ma halfway through, he just looks at me. He's like, how cool is this a Muslim and a Jew selling Vietnamese and Australian craft beers in Hong Kong? How cool is this? Like that's pretty good Obviously, we're talking about good memories, awesome stuff. It's great. I did want to ask you, obviously anything that's new and fresh, you're starting for the first time. There's gonna be some obstacles at the start. Do you have any like, funny stories about things that were like, like big problems you had with Subaru early on that were like awful at the time, but now you can kind of look back on and

Charles Guerrier:

laugh? I mean, I think we've been quite lucky that, that, we haven't had any of those horrible moments. He said, again, what am I doing? What have I done? but there was one show, one of the earlier shows and, not gonna, not gonna, not gonna name the city because we wanna go back there again one day.

Mischa Smith:

I know the city and I don't want go back there ever. I know it without even hearing the story. I bent every Subaru post Singapore. I know which city you're talking about, but go ahead. Sorry. But

Charles Guerrier:

the, so it came to the second day of the show and it all, everything runs smoothly. Fantastic. Great. And, then these armed, armed, army guys turned up with rifles and, and, and, and a captain or a general with him or whatever. He was at the hotel. At the hotel. So we, we turned up to get everything going the next day and, and they were sitting there in the foyer of the foyer of the conference hall. Oh no. It was like, here we go, here comes a shakedown. You know, we've got our licensees. We're all sort. but something's obviously gonna go wrong. so we are running around trying to find out what they, why they were there, what they were doing. and the guys from the hotel disappeared off and had a chat with'em. Meanwhile, they're walking around with their guns in the foyer. You've got brewers coming in. Half of'em hung over half of'em looking for the first beer of the day. Guns in the foyer. It just, it just something that those things don't mix. And and then the hotel, hotel manager came back. Okay, so, okay, so, okay, they're here because there's an Asan minister's meeting in town, so they're going to all the hotels and checking security in hotels. I said, okay, so, so number one, not the shakedown. Great. They're not here for us, they're not here for us. but then we said, look, is there anything we can do, because, you know, we don't really want guns walking around the foyer, cuz these guys are gonna be having a few beers during the day and someone's gonna get a little bit silly and have a laugh. Oh, can I play with your again? so we said the hotel magic here, can you, can you do something. About them. What can we do? And he goes, I'll manage it, we'll get it sorted. And, and they, they disappeared. And what, uh, what happened to them? He goes, oh, he stuck him in the broom cupboard, He said, he, but it's okay. He's okay. We'll give him some food from the buffet at lunchtime. They'll be happy.

Mischa Smith:

everybody loves free food. when you said, there's gonna be people drinking beers and someone's gonna get silly, can you name the person that you were most worried about? getting silly. Niall just pointed at me. That's what I can't, couldn't have been me

Alex Violette:

possibly

Charles Guerrier:

Cause that's not the kind of thing that you would do. I think, I

Mischa Smith:

think that's, I would not approach a military person with a rifle after a few beers. That's not my

Charles Guerrier:

style. I think, yeah, I think, I think there's probably about 300 people in the room that could have done

Mischa Smith:

right. But Who's the number one? Sorry

Charles Guerrier:

again, positive reinforcement. Positive

Alex Violette:

reinforcement. It's like I just need a mirror So take, take it way back, like going back. So we've talked about the conference and moving forward with it and then kind of like where it started, but you know, you've obviously got a huge passion for craft beer. Can you speak to where. You saw that, like originating where that came

Charles Guerrier:

from? I blame the Belgians. Okay. Honestly, completely.

Mischa Smith:

We blame the Belgians for

Charles Guerrier:

everything. Yep, yep. All their fault. we, we set up in, I used to run bars in Singapore, so I was out in Hong Kong in the mid nineties and then moved up to Singapore, 98. After, after the handover in Hong Kong, we decided to head down to Singapore and, um, we set up, set up a new bar in 2021. So set up my first bar in 2021, and its little regulars hole in the wall. And then we, the opportunity came, set up another bar, said, okay, well I don't wanna do a regulars bar again, because that takes a lot of time. You have to be there a lot of the time because, because it's a very personable business. So we're looking for a concept. And you a real good concept bar to, uh, to, um, open up. And we, we looked at what was going on in the region and what's happening. I mean, there wasn't really any craft beer at the time. There's a couple of places, but not a lot. And the micro brewing really wasn't a thing. What year was this?

Alex Violette:

Sorry, did you say 2021?

Charles Guerrier:

Sorry. Sorry. 2001. 2000, okay. That's I'm in the wrong time. You,

Mischa Smith:

you were only left by a couple of decades, Charles.

Charles Guerrier:

so 2002 maybe, maybe I'm gonna put that, that of our Lord. Yeah. That hangover scale. I think, I think I'll probably underestimate. Yeah.

Alex Violette:

It's okay. We got a zero to moderate today. Yeah.

Charles Guerrier:

so, so we, we decided to set up a Belgium bar. So I, I went over to Belgium and, and kind of just went around Brussels and just, just dove into all the bars and tried all the beers and, and we ended up selecting the beers that we were gonna bring back to Singapore to put in the bar. And then also, you know, I was, you know, taking note of what the bars looked like in, in, in Belgium. So we then came back and designed the bar as well. And that really got, I was then going back to, to Belgium pretty much every year to go and see if we can find new beers and that, that got the whole beer thing, got the whole beer thing moving and, and that's kind of where the real passion started. I mean, I always liked the beer beforehand. I don't think anyone's ever accused me of not liking the odd beer. but that's when the, the real variety started coming in and then the different flavors and all the different styles of beer, and then just it developed from there. and then I, I, I, I got my sommelier certificate. About three, three years ago, four years ago now. Cause I thought I'm doing this and I'm running around the region and I'm meeting people. and, and, and at the time, it was the early days of the show, so I was like, okay, well how can I supplement what I'm doing? So I thought, okay, if I've got, if I've got my Somme certificate, I can then do beer training and you know, I've got that certificate to say I know what I'm talking about.

Mischa Smith:

can I, sorry to jump in. Do you know what you're talking about? Because Somalia's for wine? Yeah. ci, I think

Charles Guerrier:

it's, no, no, no. So Somalia is the, I B D, the I B D. You got Somme certificate. Oh, oh, I'm wrong.

Alex Violette:

There are various groups that do the, the different certifications. Oh,

Charles Guerrier:

okay. I've got a pin to prove it as well. So, sorry

Mischa Smith:

Charles, I stand corrected. It takes a big man to admit when he is wrong. I'm not a big man. I stand by what I said.

Alex Violette:

No, that's interesting to hear about the, the Belgian beer getting you interested in beer because it was very similar for a lot of people that I know in the United States as we got. To craft brewing you were looking for? we wanted to just, you know, really like, just upset the apple cart, kick everything over, like very punk rock attitude. We're gonna make these crazy beers, crazy ingredients. And, Belgian beer had been doing that for like 500 years. They were like, we're gonna ferment with all this crazy stuff. I don't know what it is. We're gonna leave it open to the air. We're gonna add fruits and spices and, and all these cool ingredients. So a lot of, home brewers were drawing like, inspiration from these really crazy Belgian beers, but they were invented it seemed like 300, 500 years ago. And now the community had this expectation in Belgium that. It's this style and it should taste this way. And this is the alcohol content. And in the United States, we were taking those techniques, but there was zero expectation as long as it wasn't industrial white lagger. You know, there wasn't this heritage flavor preference, this is the beer of our region, we need to preserve it. So, really took a lot of inspiration from the creativity and the, the styles of brewing in Belgium and then, and then used that as like home brewers to like just kind of start tweaking it in different ways. But, but yeah, I think my first favorite beers, like Laman in a very Belgian and inspiration,

Mischa Smith:

the end of the fucking world. Lahan du

Charles Guerrier:

Yeah, and I think you're right. People took a lot of inspiration. I think when you look at a lot of the early, craft beer styles, people were brewing triples and doubles and they were brewing be styles before they started then moving. Moving off and really changing the whole style profile. Cuz I think Belgium has, it's, it's now kind of, I guess it's not, it's not stuck, but it has a certain favorite profile and it, it's, it's there and it hasn't moved now. And a lot of people and I look at it and go, well, you know, it's not that exciting really, is it? Because I think people are moving. You kind, you kinda start with, I guess you start with kind German and Belgium and then you kind start moving through and moving, try the different styles and different American styles and what's been brewed in Australia and, and some of the UK breweries now. But you then go back, well, oh, Belgium hasn't changed. It's still at the same flavors. and you know, they're, they're great. Fantastic. But it's not, it's not seeing an evolution like everywhere else

Alex Violette:

is. I saw that moving in, early and that's where I, I knew that I was most at home in, in making craft beers was when I was in Boulder. I could brew a Belgian style, a crazy experimental style, traditional German lagr and the people that were buying our beer had no expectation that it should taste one way or another. And that was really the, um, the force that I think like helped bring everybody up was that there was, this embrace of the creativity. There was an expectation of the tradition, and then the craft aisles really came out. And that's what, that we try and do with past Earth Street is that kind of same thing, like diversify the flavors and really appreciate that you have people looking for these new flavors. They're not like, Hey, I just want, I drink nothing but. I drink nothing but pilsner. I drink nothing but goos. You know, there's, if you're, you're innovating and having that flavor diversity come to a place for the first time, then you can kind of set that expectation, that, hey, it's fun to try something different. And I really see that all over, Southeast Asia, you know, where I've traveled and met with brewers. It's that there isn't an expectation that you have to do this type of beer. That, that people are coming in and really just enjoying a variety of flavors and almost like, excited for what's next.

Charles Guerrier:

Oh yeah. There's so much going on this, there's what I was saying, when I did an interview, in Thailand after sea, the, the, the energy, the diversity, playing around with flavors, doing crazy things, they're not, they're not scared to do something crazy. one, one of the Thai brewers was making, It was, it was a milkshake. oh, what was it? Was it a milkshake? Raspberry, sour. And it, and it came out. You, you could almost eat it with the spoon. Yeah, it was, he was like, yes. I wanted it thick. I was like, well, it's thick. It's mission

Mischa Smith:

accomplished.

Alex Violette:

It's, it's amazing. But a few days ago, I mean, we were already having a meeting with brewers to say, let's make sure we get everybody involved in what the style guidelines are for the competition, to make sure that those style guidelines won't step on anybody's creativity. To make sure that like we are embracing that the, the flavors of the beers should be able to come from the countries that they're made and that won't prevent them from being relevant in a competition. So it seems like really cool stuff going on, out here throughout Asia. Just the way that craft beer is being introduced to people is, is really cool.

Charles Guerrier:

Yeah. Cause we, we are having to look with, with the competition. So, so we are talking now about the age bay championship, and we use fairly, fairly rigid star guidelines. we've been using the BJP guidelines and that's a, this is what a pilsner, this is what an IPA is. This is, they're quite, quite rigid guidelines and for a reason because, you know, if, if you're judging an ipa, you've gotta have the standard guidelines that you're judging the beer by. but we are finding more and more brewers saying, oh yeah, we, we we're struggling to put our beer in a competition because we dunno where to put it because the, the guidelines are very traditional. So they're trying to find, okay, well where am I gonna put my Jasmine ipa? Where am I gonna put my banana goer? You know, where's, where's it all gonna go? so we are now looking at, at the, the competition guidelines going, okay, well how are we going to reflect this in the competition? How are we gonna show, you know, highlight the new styles of beer that, that are coming out in the, around the region? So you get 20 brewers in a room, you're gonna have 20 different opinions on, on, on what you can do. And, and, so you've gotta kind of muddled through that and try and work out what's the best way to keep as many people happy as possible. And, and obviously we, we want to encourage brewers to send their beers into the competition because they get feedback from, feedback from the judges. So, so that's very important for us to get that good feedback to the brewers. It's, anonymous, anonymous, honest feedback on, on the brew. but also, yeah, it gives them the opportunity, you know, they have the chance to stand up in front of their peers when we do the presentations, if they, they win a medal, if they win an award, yeah. They, they get to stand up in front of, everyone goes, yes, you, I've done it. You, I've done something. And, and everybody can, you they recognize that, that this person's produced something good, which I think is very important. This, again, this positive reinforcement, you know, you, you're doing something right. You're doing something good and, and the, your peers are appreciating that as well. So I think that's very important.

Alex Violette:

So at the conference, I thought that the, the technical quality of the, the seminars, it was very, very informational. it seemed very relevant to brewers and, especially relevant to brewers in, in Southeast Asia. Now you're going into Brew Asia, I'm sure it's, the topics will expand. do you have any, um, rubric that you use when trying to determine what's gonna be talked about or what, people are interested in hearing or what they, maybe sometimes what they need to hear

Charles Guerrier:

that, that's a hard one. Trying to get people in the room and listen to what they need to hear. it, it's, I I travel around the region a lot. I, I talk to a lot of the brewers. and it's also also about the business of beer as well. So talking to the, the, the brewery owners as well, and you know, what they're seeing and the struggles they have. And we try, we try and put together a, a program which, which addresses some of their problems and, and, you know, we try and find solutions for them, you know, so we gotta identify what the problems are, then we can start working on the solution. but what we do find is because of the nature of the conference, you know, everyone's having a great time and, and yeah, they may not get into the room that they want to get into because they're busy downstairs in the trade fair, or they're, you know, there's, there's two, two sessions going on at the same time that you, that they, they want to go to both sessions. Obviously they can't, they can't duplicate themselves. what what we are gonna be doing is, we started it in 2019, was, technical sessions in the cities around the region, and those are the ones we find we can really dive into. So, so that's when we can do the real deep dives and we can get more technical. what, what we find with the conference. We try and keep everything as experiential as. So, the, the, the sensory sessions, we had what a build, build a beer workshop where there were, the brewers were playing around with hop oils. they were always with sibel and Lamond will do a sensory session for off flavors. And, and they, they, they bought in bio transformation flavors. Now, because that's, that's a hot topic in, in the, in the industry is what happens. You know, you have bio transformation as you're brewing your beer. Where are these flavors coming from? What are they, what do they taste like? Is is it a good flavor? Is it a bad flavor? You know, what kind of flavors do I expect? So we try and do those. So, so the conference is getting more and more experiential, as opposed to sit down, listen to 40 minutes of presentation, do a 20 minute q and a get up, have a cup of coffee, sit down again, have another presentation. Yeah. Where we want to get them, the brewers talking, we wanna get'em around tables, we wanna get'em playing with things. And that's when, that's when you really soak in the information as well.

Mischa Smith:

so I, I did an off flavor workshop, years ago. and, you know, it was what it was, it was, it was informative to like, put a name to these flavors that I have experienced before. I don't know, I just prefer on flavors.

Charles Guerrier:

Well, the, the, typically when you, when you go into hotels and you bring in, you bring in outside beer into hotels, there's, there's a, cover charge for it. They'll charge a cock to bring, bring beer in. And a couple years ago we were trying to explain to the hotel where we were hosting the event. It's like, we are, this is, we are ruining this beer. We're intentionally putting bad flavor in this way. You can't charge, we're bringing bad beer.

Mischa Smith:

We're not gonna

Charles Guerrier:

pay for Exactly. You can't, you can't charge us cock for beer. That is gonna spit out

Mischa Smith:

That's is one more reason why I prefer on flavors. Flavors don't like paying for shitty beer.

Alex Violette:

I've been, talking about that for a while. You know that if you talk to people about off flavors, that's what they're gonna notice. And instead, if you talk about how delicious this type of malice, how the aroma from this type of hop is awesome, then that's something they're gonna be looking for. And then also like what is an off flavor? Is an off flavor something that somebody doesn't, like the taste of? Or is it something that a brewer has determined isn't appropriate to be in the beer? Right? Or is it really something that, that consumers don't like? And I heard it put, extremely well at the conference, is that a good beer is one that makes you thirsty? Or you want to take another sip? Yeah. You wanna

Charles Guerrier:

come back for another one? Yep. Yep. But, but the, a friend of mine was brewing in Singapore and when he, when he first turned up, he was asking the sales team for the, for the brewer that he was working with, what is premium beer? What is a premium beer? And they, um, they decided to do a blind tasting. So they said they brought in all of your, all of your top brands, all your big name beers and did, did a blind tasting. And the sales team all picked up one particular beer, which had been born in from Europe. And and they said, this is a premium. It's a premium flavor. And then they said, okay, well what are you identifying as that premium flavor? And without knowing it, they all described octan. Every single one of them. And, and it's that that particular beer had been cooked through the Mediterranean Cross Union Ocean Cross. A bear of Bengal kept an a 30 degree warehouse in Singapore. but because the marketing team had done such a good job of telling everybody, this is a, this is a premium bear. It's reassuringly expensive. everybody, everybody in Singapore thought that is a premium flavor. So it, it comes down to perception. It comes down to what you're being told, what you understand. And if you, if you don't understand what you are drinking, then yeah, you, you believe anything, won't you? And so, so I mean it, is it a bad flavor? I mean, personally, I don't. But yeah, there might be people who do like wet cardboard in that, in that value. You never know. Yeah.

Mischa Smith:

There was, there was a beer that was being imported here, and it had this, this green apple taste, and I don't know what the, the technical term is for the, the green apple off flavor acid aldehyde. Okay. So every bottle tasted like that. And I noticed it, and I knew, I recognized that it was an off flavor, but people that I talked to were like, oh yeah, it taste like green apple. It's sweet. It's so good. a, a boss of mine years ago once said to me that perception is reality. And I, like, I hated that. I was angry. I disagreed. Over the years I've realized that that's the truth of that perception is reality. That's

Charles Guerrier:

Yeah. I tried, I tried home brewing, couple of years ago and I, my background is running bars and it's not, it's not brewing itself. And I've tried brewing twice, both with disastrous, disastrous consequences. but my last, my last attempt at at home brewing was I was brewing an ipa. and after three weeks, four weeks, I said, okay, it's time to taste it out. First time I brewed a beer for 40 years, here we go. Let's have a taste. And I cracked it open and I'd made this beautiful cider I now know, I now know the flavor of acid aldehyde.

Mischa Smith:

So just quick story. again, years ago, one of the local breweries here in Vietnam who were kind of well known for, having off flavors and all their beers, obviously not gonna mention which one. they were one of their biggest, wholesale accounts. They had one beer on there that sold pretty well. and then they hired a new brewer who came in and, and fixed all their beers, got rid of the off flavors, made'em taste good, and then the regular customers at their wholesale account complained about the taste of the new beer. So the owner was telling me this story and he said, I never thought I would, I would say this to someone, but I went to them and said, Hey, maybe you should put the off flavors back in your beer That was the flavor that your customers really loved. And, you know,

Charles Guerrier:

bring that, bring back that old,

Mischa Smith:

make your beer worse.

Alex Violette:

anyway, that, that's going to what I was getting at though. This perception that Acetaldehyde or Diac or any, any, anything that these technical chemical terms, right? Like, I, I was picking up this when I was starting like the first sensory program that I had launched at the same time as starting the first lab that I had started at a brewery. And, um, you could now correlate, the laboratory data with what people thought about it and what threshold they could taste it. And I realized that like at the threshold, that like the, the instrument could detect aide, I couldn't taste it at all. And that was technically where like there was two people in our company that could taste it at that level and they hated it. They were just like, I can't even smell this beer. And, I wouldn't pick it up until it came to a, a little bit higher level, but then I just thought it tasted like pumpkins, nothing like apples. I was just like completely different perceptions on this. And I think that constantly looking at that, like what makes you thirsty? Kind of solves that problem. Like if that beer made you thirsty, then yeah, maybe that's just not, not enough flavor, at least for those

Mischa Smith:

people. Right. Well, and, and so to tell on ourselves a little bit, another story. We had our Jasmine IPA on tap at a, at a wholesale account. And usually we use kegs of the beer stay cold and the kegs in the fridge. There's no issues about shelf life, but this one account, we have done a chiller. So the kegs were out at room temperature. And, you know, as long as they sell fast enough, that's not an issue. And this account usually sold pretty fast, and it was a slow week or whatever. And we were there. You and me and a bunch of our friends, I think was someone's birthday. And I could tell that the beer had been out for like, a little bit too long. And I drank that beer more than anyone. So if anybody's gonna notice it's gonna be me. And it didn't taste awful or bad, it just had like a little extra flavor that I didn't like. And we were there when the keg kicked. And they brought a fresh one from the walk-in. Cooler, fresh keg, cold should taste awesome. Hooked it on. And I didn't say anything cause I wanted to see what everyone else said. Tried the new one. I'm like, oh yeah, that's, that's perfect. That's how our beer tastes. So after everyone had headed fresh glass and tried it all, I asked everyone, like, you guys saw the keg change? Like, what did you think? Which, which beer did you like better? And everyone except me said that the old keg tasted better than the new keg, the fresh one. So at some point it's like, what the fuck? Does anyone know? Like what? We're, we're all just out here drinking beers, man, And that's a good reminder. If you have the chance to work in the craft beer industry and get paid to drink beer, fucking take it every time. It's a great job, We get paid to drink beer.

Charles Guerrier:

It's pretty great. Well, you gotta love what you're doing. It's the industry. And talking to somebody the other day about this saying, if not, if you're not having fun, you're doing something wrong. Yeah. It's a serious industry. You know? It, it's, you can lose a lot of money in it. A hundred percent is you gotta, you gotta think about what you're doing as a proper business, but you gotta have fun. Yeah. Why would you do it if you're not having fun? Go and be an accountant and pull someone's teeth or something. You know,

Alex Violette:

yeah, so loving what you do. I mean, obviously I love making beer and then I especially loved, coming to Asia and making, some of these beers I had been making in the United States and. They would be great, but they weren't as surprised to anyone. It was like, oh, here's another ipa. Here's another brown nail. Here's another experimental beer. And one of the things that I really liked was making these styles of beer for somebody that didn't know that that is what beer could be. didn't know it could taste this way, didn't know these flavors could be in a beer. And um, and then seeing them get excited about it and then get really excited about it and start home brewing and really excited about it and getting into like designing beer labels cuz they were a designer. And then they're so excited about it that now they're starting their own brewery. And um, I I think that's one of the big drivers that I've seen is that seeing the brewers get along, seeing everybody just having this amazing time doing what they do is inspiring to other people to look at it and say, you know what? I wish that could be my job. And, and, and that aspect of the community, as much as the beer itself is really, A really positive aspect in things like, like having an industry conference where we all get together and have a good time and share some knowledge is, is a huge part of that. And, did you see that, that that was a necessary step, or, or was there, like, what was the, intentionality, I guess, when you said we're gonna start this conference? What was like the, the foundational value reason for getting that done?

Charles Guerrier:

Yeah, I think at the beginning it was more, more on the educational side of things. So I said, okay, well there aren't, and there aren't many opportunities for, for, for brewers to learn in Asia. There aren't, there aren't any brewing academies in Asia. I think a career's got one and, and Thailand now has got a, got a, got a one as well. so, so, so those educational opportunities aren't there. So it start, it started off based around education, and the opportunities to, to, to bring people in. And the brewers can get together and they can learn a bit, about various aspects of brewing, and they can ask questions to experts. Cause a lot of people in the industry aren't, you, they're, they're not formally educated in brewing. So they can then, they can then, start asking questions and they can, they can ask the experts. But I think it, it's grown into a lot more than that. I think it's grown into a community building exercise. yeah, the education is a strong part of community building, but, but there's everything else as well. It's about, you know, bringing people together. It's about showing how the community's growing. you know, that everyone's, everyone's pulling in the same direction and they're being rewarded for what they're doing. Everybody's, everybody has their own individual breweries. But when you come together, you see how, how dynamic the industry is and the community is, and, and so it's really become a, a whole community, a community enterprise as opposed to just the education side of things. And I think that's what we've seen over the last few years. And when you guys have come to the conferences and you've seen that, that development, there's more, more going on, you meeting more people from, from around the region, you're getting to know more people, people wanting to come and do colabs with you.

Mischa Smith:

Speaking to that, like obviously the last two obviously tell us the last two years of Subaru were done online cuz of Covid. And if I was inclined and if we were a more boring podcast, I'd ask you about some of the difficulties, but we don't like to talk about Covid on this podcast. I just did wanna say how fucking awesome it was to have it in person again this year in Bangkok, just to see everyone again. Like that was, that's the social aspect, that's the community aspect. Just to see all my friends from Korea, from Singapore, from Thailand, just everyone together at Hong Kong, you know, I'm not gonna leave anyone out the country's gonna feel bad if I don't mention Japan. But like just how fucking awesome it was to see everyone in person again. Have a beer, have a laugh, tell some stories like. Fuck Covid. It sucked, but we're out of it. And thank you for continuing to do this conference that brings the whole Asian community together in just an awesome way, and, gives us a chance to see all our friends.

Charles Guerrier:

Amazing. I think it's great. It's, you're seeing everybody there creating new memories. Yeah. They're catching up. They're doing, you know, doing crazy things. You, they've got a few days, they're out of, out their regular work mode. you, they're outta the brewery out of the sales meeting into a tuk, into a tuk. Charging around, charging around Bangkok when took tooks and beers and, you know, getting stuck in traffic for 45 minutes trying to get down to one of the local bars. And we, I mean, we ended up sitting in the middle of the river drinking beer, I mean, and all the, uh, the people. So the day after the conference, we decided to go out to Chibe, which is a, uh, kind of the godfather

Mischa Smith:

of Yeah. Thanks for the invite to that. By the way. We

Charles Guerrier:

didn't want you to come

Mischa Smith:

Woke up in my hotel room, I was checking Facebook. I was like, oh, all the best people in Bangkok. That was what you wrote on your thing. All the best people in Bangkok are at Chibe. Thank God. Miesha's not, that's not

Charles Guerrier:

Oh, it was, I, I was really disappointed cause we, what we wanted to do was to take a boat from one of the piers downtown and, and you know, get a few beers and cruise up the river and it's about, it's about an hour's boat ride up the river. So we, we wanted to take a boat up the river and it's, it's one of the iconic trips you can do one of the iconic craft beer trips you can do in Bangkok. And because it'd been raining so much, the river was really high and it was running too fast. And they say, look, we can't, we can't send a boat that far up the river. So, oh, really? Disappointed. So we got a, we got a, we got a minivan and we jumped in minivan and we drove about a 45 minute drive up to, up to Chibe. And we then had to get a ferry across to the island and was, we got across to the island. It was like, oh, the bar's underwater Literally it was about carve deep in the bar. And and there were some guys on the pontoons who'd got up just before us, and they were like, yeah. They were having the beers delivered out to them on, on the landing pontoon because that was dry. And we're like, we've come all the way up here. We're not gonna sit in a pontoon we're going into the bar. So, so we all gotta troop down into the bar and we are sitting there, you know, calf high knee high and water, drinking beer, you know, the Thehow, Pryor River running, running between your toes. It was a fantastic experience. And it's things like that, those kind of shared experiences, it's so much fun. And, and people remember that, you know, that's really important part of. Part of everything.

Mischa Smith:

Yeah. So there was a video that someone posted of two of the guys jumping into the, and then Chris Roberts just tagged in the comments. The, the local hospital.

Charles Guerrier:

dirty water. Yeah. I was holding the camera for that one. I'm like, I'm not getting

Alex Violette:

in there. Cool. Um, that's great. That's great how the two work together. You have this community where, Everybody is, is getting along and being supportive of like that. And then the, um, the education is a big part of like building the community because we're, nobody's trying to like, you know, move up and, increase their market share because they're withholding information that they're the only one that knows about this vendor. And we're the only one that knows this process. Like everybody in the community shares that, saying, Hey, if you're having trouble with us, here's, here's how to make a beer. here, if you need these hops, check out this, this vendor, the supplier, they're all there. So, yeah, they, they I guess dovetail together, you know, sharing the education, sharing the information, builds the community. The community brings people in. It's, very synergistic. Yeah. Yeah.

Charles Guerrier:

And it just grow. It just grows and grows and grows. And like, say there's a new product, some, someone see a new product go, Hey, this is really cool. Go and go and have a look at this new product. This, this, this guy's got down on booth five or whatever. And everyone will go down and go and have a look at it. Yeah. They won't go, oh, I'm gonna keep that quiet. I'm gonna take that back to my brewery. And no one's gonna know about

Mischa Smith:

it. No, exactly. Every every beer festival I've ever been to, people see me and they're like, I usually get there before most people. So when they get there, they're like, what's good? Like, what, what, what should I try? What's new? What's exciting? Like, which beers did you try? Which like, you know, everyone's, and of course I'm not gonna say like, go, go. Just drink ours. Just drink our beer. It's the best Like, of course I'm gonna tell'em like, all these guys have something new. Like, that's awesome. That one's my old favorite. It's not new, but if you haven't tried it yet, you should go try it. Yeah. Like, The, you know, I think, I think we're saying it without actually saying like, the community is the most important thing, the craft beer community. And that's more than any other industry I know working in this industry. It's about bringing people together and just having awesome experiences

Charles Guerrier:

yeah, So, so we we're working as we're working with the suppliers when they're, when they're running presentations at the show, we, we really work harder than say, look, don't just stand there and do a presentation. Everybody knows how this product is made. Everybody knows you're a hop supplier. Everybody knows you're a multiplier. You, you don't need to tell them every time you do a presentation that you're, that that's what you supply. Cuz they know, you know, pay the brewers the respect that they can work out what you do. Teach something, help them with a problem cuz that's what they're gonna remember. They're gonna remember, how you help them come over, overcome one of their, one of the problems they're having in a brew house. They don't need to know that, that, or this is how we've been making malt for 180 years. Everyone knows how malts made. But how can you, how can you address a problem that the brewer forgot? And that's, that's what we really impress on the, on the suppliers when, when they're doing presentations at the show. It's like, you know, teach, share your, share your, experiences. share, share everything with the brewers. Let you know. They'll, they'll connect the dots and they know who you are. So, so just help them out how you can that, and they'll appreciate that way more than, than just a presentation on how Mott's been coming out the ground for two and a half thousand years. And, yeah,

Mischa Smith:

so as

Charles Guerrier:

a participant, Barley's been coming out the ground. Mott's been amazing,

Mischa Smith:

I like the specificity.

Charles Guerrier:

Somebody, somebody will pick us up on it. Somebody absolutely, somebody will actually listen to this, will actually listen

Mischa Smith:

all the way through. No, but, uh, as a, as an attendee of your conferences, I can say that, that initiative has worked. Cuz I remember years ago, like the first Subaru I went to, there were a lot more presentations that sounded, that felt like commercials for whoever was presenting. And now it's more informative and like actually useful information instead of just like, Hey, buy my hops, we have the best hops. Here's why. Buy them. Like it's not. There's a lot less of that now than there was back then. So good job by you.

Alex Violette:

Those are always the awkward conversations with vendors too, when you're talking to, you know, hops or especially yeast like. and so, so what would, you know, be interesting on, you know, using our products? Like, well, you know, if you could show us how to reuse our yeast more times so we don't have to buy as much of it, that would be very attractive for the hop guys. You know, if you could, uh, you know, have, have a technique or something that you could teach us to where we could get that same hop flavor with like, you know, 30% less hops. You know, we'd really love to buy hops for me if you could teach us how to do that But yeah, that, that goes to the point, yeah, you don't need to know how something's made. You need to know how to use it, at your. At your brewery, to be efficient and be able to be competitive, to run, you know, the business aspect of a company you've got, you know, you've got costs. So, teaching people how to, make the best beer, but also not waste money while doing it is extremely helpful. Hmm.

Charles Guerrier:

Yeah. I, I was, judging in the competition, a freestyle competition a few years ago, and it was sponsored by a hop company and we, we'd whittled the beers down to the final three. And the, the, the one was a, a light lag or, I p was a hobby lag.

Mischa Smith:

One was a hobby lager, India pale lagger. For our, for our listeners who. Nobody's listening at this point. Who doesn't know what an IPA is?

Charles Guerrier:

one was, one was, one was a hobby Lar one was a double IPA and one was just this massively hot triple ipa. And I put my hand up, I go, I know this is not gonna win the competition. but my vote goes for the Hobby Largo. And, and yeah they were. Yep, you're right. That's not gonna win the competition cuz it's been sponsored by hops company. We want lots of hops and air cause we wanna encourage people to do lots of hops. But my background being from bars and the commercial side of the business, someone's gonna sell way more Lars, hobby Lars and they are gonna sell a triple ipa. So surely then you're actually gonna sell more hops if people are pounding back. The hobby lags than, than sitting on one triple ipa.

Mischa Smith:

Well, yeah, and as a, as a sales guy, like, you know, winning awards for a brewery is awesome, but I, I prefer selling beer. So most of our most popular beers are not the ones that have won the most awards. And so, you know, when people like start peacocking about all the awards, I'm just like, right, I still sell more beer than you. So yeah, you can care about what you care about. I don't care

Alex Violette:

about what I care about. I mean, you're not wrong. You know, if you can have people expecting 10% more hops in the most common beer style that exist in that market at the time, versus trying to increase the popularity of a beer style that uses 20 times more hops. But only a hundredth of a percent or a thousandth of a percent of people and wherever this was, are probably going to triple IPAs as their go-to beer. Yeah,

Mischa Smith:

triple IPA all day. On that note, we're gonna transition to, uh, one of my favorite segments on the podcast. We only have two segments. One of my favorite segments on the podcast. We like to call it Fact or Fiction, Charles, every pod. At the end, we do a little segment called Fact or Fiction. So I'm gonna read you some statements that I have prepared, either about you or about, beer in general. And you can just tell me if they're fact or fiction and if there's a story coming outta them. Feel free to tell the story or if you just wanna leave it to a one word answer, you can go ahead and do that. Okay? Factor Fiction. Saigon is your favorite place to visit in all of Asia.

Charles Guerrier:

Oh, I'm gonna go, I'm gonna, oh, I know where this is leading, cuz, cuz it's not leading anywhere. We were, we were sitting in a car yesterday and, and Misha said, you're only doing the show back in Saigon cuz you love coming here.

Mischa Smith:

not only, but I'm saying that's a big part. I,

Charles Guerrier:

I, I'm not even, I'm not even gonna go for the political answer. I love everywhere I go, but Saigon does hold a special place for me. it's a, it's a fantastic city and great place to come. Fact was

Mischa Smith:

the answer for that. you okay, next, next up. Factor fiction. Charles, you and I once fell off of my scooter together while traveling at a high speed.

Charles Guerrier:

Well, it seemed like high speed at the time, so I'm gonna go with fiction, because we weren't going at high speed. We were actually sitting still and, and Misha just fell off. He just, the bike just fell over. There was no speed involved. So complete fiction. Complete fiction. I

Mischa Smith:

purposely worded it that way, because yes, I, we were driving by, we got, we got all the way back to D two from D one Safe, no issues. And then we were going to a bar, but I saw, and it was late, so I wasn't sure what was gonna be open. And I saw the lights on at a place that I wasn't expecting to be open, so I stopped suddenly But the act of stopping was the last straw. And I remember we fell over so slowly that we were both just laughing our asses off by the time we hit the deck. So, that's correct. It's fiction. That wasn't high speed at all. Factor fiction. Charles, every restaurant in the world should offer individual sliders for sale

Charles Guerrier:

That's complete fact. Complete fact. Totally true. Totally true. Guys, you must be flexible. You, you have to be able to say yes. We'll give you one slider. Greet the, I know, I know. We only sell'em in threes, but you know, some people got little appetites. Yeah, they're small people. Yeah. They don't wanna eat three, they just wanna eat one. We took

Mischa Smith:

the fucking sliders off the menu just so we couldn't have to have this argument.

Charles Guerrier:

It was a big, it was a big argument a few years ago. Cause Mii got very upset. That's a customers were almost exchanged. A customer wanted to buy four sliders and they said, I'm sorry, we only do'em in threes. They said, well, don't you have a, you know, you've got another set of sliders in the kitchen. Can't you just take another one and charge, charge'em for it? It's a. No, we're only doing it with three. So you can only have three sliders, but he doesn't want six. We, we

Alex Violette:

have rules here. Yeah.

Mischa Smith:

Charles Factor Fiction. Kim's Tavern has the worst pizza in Vietnam.

Charles Guerrier:

Complete fact. It was so bad. I threw it on the floor.

Mischa Smith:

I've, I've got a contender. We'll have to go while you're in town. I've got a contender that might take it off the top spot. Charles Factor Fiction. Your surname translates to Warrior. It does, indeed. That's pretty fucking cool. Yeah.

Charles Guerrier:

And, and I'm also a Barron as well. Stop. Yep. French Barron. So, there you go. You don't need to call me that. You can, you can stay sit seated

Mischa Smith:

down. Is that a quick story or should we just move on? I just

Alex Violette:

move on.

Charles Guerrier:

Yeah.

Alex Violette:

We don't wanna bore people with that. The Warrior Barron, Barron v.

Mischa Smith:

Gary

Charles Guerrier:

My, my, my, my untapped handle is crafty Barron

Mischa Smith:

nerd.

Charles Guerrier:

I, I don't think I'll open up untapped for about six years.

Mischa Smith:

Charles Factor Fiction Clow. Imperial Chocolate Stout is your favorite Vietnamese craft

Charles Guerrier:

beer. It's my bedtime beer. And in fact, that's why my hangover today was 5.2. Not five. Because you had a ccl. We had a sequel. We had a ccl. Last Beer of the Night last night was a cco. For

Mischa Smith:

people who aren't familiar with Past street, that's a 13% chocolate stout. That's fucking delicious. Last one. Charles Factor Fiction Ringside is the best bar in manila

Charles Guerrier:

fiction. It's closed down. Oh no. Yeah, it was a, it was a, a casualty of covid. Pour one out to

Mischa Smith:

ringside. That's probably better for a lot of us. Yeah. That's been beer stories. Thanks to Niall Mackay for producing. Thanks to Lewis Wright for the music. Thanks to my co-host, Alex. Always thanks to Charles for coming on. Thank

Charles Guerrier:

you. It's been, it's been great to be here. It's a nice chatting. Nice chatting with you guys. It was

Mischa Smith:

our pleasure. And thank you for listening.