A rigorously hand-crafted beer

A strong tie with his land and family business, established in 1911 by his great-grandfather, and, above all, love and unconditioned interest for beer are the reasons which induced Enrico Treccani to decide to renew his father Rinaldo’s cereal and pig-farming company, at Castel Goffredo (MN), and do it in the best way: with a good idea. Enrico, present owner of the Company, tells: «I have always been very fond of beer since when I was young. At school, when I was in the Agricultural Technical School, while our teacher explained the wine-making process, I leafed through my book in order to understand how beer is prepared. Then, when I was about 23 years old, I began producing it at home by myself, until I planned to directly cultivate the raw materials for preparing it and therefore I thought of the possibility of starting my own brewery». And Enrico did start his own brewery by cultivating malted barley on the plots of land of his company, found a malthouse which periodically gives him back the worked barley and created ‘Luppolajo’, a plant of about 400 square metersin which today five different typologies of beer are produced, all of them rigorously hand-crafted. Enrico explains: «It has not been easy to plan how to produce malted barley in the Po Valley, because in Italy this cultivation is mainly concentrated in the Centre and South of our Country. So, after different attempts and some failures, we found a variety that can be suitable for our climate, more rigorous in the winter and humid in the spring». The owner insisted on stating that barley needs a careful attention and protection against mushrooms, because, in order to obtain a good barley, it is necessary to have at one’s disposal all fed and healthy caryopses. The sowing for the year 2013 began on October 2012 on an area of about 3 hectares and ended in the month of June of the present year. Besides barley, on the company land 15 hectares are cultivated with corn, 3 with ryegrass/soya beans, 3 with soft wheat, 3 with colza. These productions are carried to the Farmers’ Cooperative of Castel Goffredo.

Towards foreign markets

The beers are directly sold both in the company store, farmers’ market of Mantua, and at Fairs, Beer Feasts, farm holidays, local restaurants and pubs. It is also possible to order and buy the products proposed by Luppolajo on its website, which helped the Company to be known abroad, too. For instance, this resourceful agricultural company sent its beer in Germany, at Paderborn, a town twinned with Mantua. And the owner, who today produces 300 hectolitres and about 40,000 bottles per year, wishes to increase the quantity of product he plans to export, always and rigorously marked with the registered trademark ‘Agribirrificio Luppolajo’, which proved to be effective, because, even before drinking their beer, the customers are intrigued by both its brand and bottle. Treccani closes: «At present, our leading product is ‘Birra Bucolica’, which ranked third in its category at the most important competition of Italian hand-crafted beers; however, in general terms all our beer are very appreciated, from 25 to 55 year-old customers. We encountered a certain initial suspicion, as, of course, the prices are not cheap, because of the artisan work which is needed for each beer, but, after tasting the product and comparing it with industrial beers, anyone understands its value, justifies its prices and hardly comes back».

The pleasure of a good beer!

Enrico Treccani, owner of Luppolajo

“My biggest satisfaction? Coming back home tired at night and uncapping one of our beers!”.

Who is Enrico?

I am a 29-year old technical agricultural expert, married and with a passion for beer. I love to travel and always try to go far away, in order to know different cultures and taste dishes all over the world. I would certainly make again the choice of becoming an entrepreneur in the agricultural field, because this is a stimulating work, which obliges you to face new challenges.

What does distinguish your farm from the other ones?

We produce our beer with our own cereals (both barley and wheat) and this allows us to work all our products inside and manage the distribution, too, so shortening the chain.

Did you already get any prizes or acknowledgements?

Yes, at the Fair ‘Rhex’ of Rimini, during which the medals of the eighth edition of the competition ‘Beer of the Year 2013’, which gives prizes to the best Italian artisan productions, were awarded. This competition, organized by ‘Unionbirrai’, involved many judges of a high national and international level, who committed themselves to taste and assess more than 500 Italian artisan beers, divided in 24 categories concerning their style and proposed by more than 100 small breweries. Our ‘Bucolica’ beer ranked third in its category.

Which problems did you face during these years and how did you solve them?

It was not easy to find a malthouse qualified for the production that guarantees to use the malt coming from my barley. Unfortunately, I avoided this difficulty only by going abroad, but I hope that in the future it will be possible to find similar realities in Italy, too. In the future, I would be pleased of increasing our exports, more and more improving my beers and creating other ones, so increasing our production, too, maybe designing a different brand which may be useful for reaching new chains of distribution. Finally, I would want to create a line of malts which I would sell to artisan breweries.

 

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