“Ukrainian breweries lack elementary marketing”
Most recently, in the Minsk bar 1067, a new variety was presented, brewed jointly by the Belarusian brewery Jungle Brewery and the Ukrainian contract brewer Yevgeny Bilichenko. The organizer of the collaboration was Alexander Dzengilevsky, who spent three years in Minsk, and is now a bar manager of one of the best Kiev craft establishments Punkraft. The journalist Pivo.by talked with the guests about the market prospects, attitude towards Untappd and views on the development of beer culture in Ukraine.
– Guys, hi. Tell us more about yourself. Who are you, what are you doing?
Evgeny Bilichenko: I am a contract brewer. At the moment I live in Kiev and use rental facilities in order to delight people with their crazy recipes. I try to brew some, one might say, stupid things that other breweries do not solve for fear of failure or financial disadvantage. I like to stand out and I want people to try something new and expand their ideas about craft beer.
Alexander Dzengilevsky: I am the manager of the Punkraft bar in Kiev. I prefer to drink “canonical” and craft beer. Due to my work, I have to try a lot of varieties and choose the best samples for the institution. I try to select beer of stable quality, in which there are no defects, there is a balance and style is maintained. If you are a home brewer and brewed a beer that meets these criteria, then you can count on our support and easily appear on the taps. I want to note that we could not get a sufficient number of varieties from Zhenya for sale, since I was not always happy with its quality.
Evgeny Bilichenko: Yes, it really was that way 🙂 At the beginning of my career, Sasha put on cranes only about 10% of my production volume. Now, when I switched to professional equipment, the quality of the product has increased markedly. Of course, as a bar manager, he probably would like these to be collaborations with eminent breweries, so that you could make some noise, so to speak. This is partly why he decided to organize cooking with the guys from the Jungle Brewery.
– Eugene, how is the name of your brewery translated and what does it mean?
Evgeny Bilichenko: I came up with the name absolutely spontaneously. Its roots go back to Ukrainian mythology. Literally, “Dyko” can be translated as “unclean power.” It so happened that I mainly specialize in dark beers, which is probably why I chose the “dark side” for myself. My main task is to shock and surprise people, in the good sense of these words.
– How did you meet the guys from Jungle Brewery?
Evgeny Bilichenko: Sasha introduced us and offered to cook a variety in Ukraine. We wrote off, discussed the recipe and the necessary ingredients, and organized a collaboration. The brewing itself took place in the city of Rivne at the facilities of Father’s Brewery.
Alexander Dzengilevsky: I lived in Minsk for more than three years. For six months I have been working in the Craftman bar since its opening. There, if I may say so, I met with craft beer and decided that I would deal with it in the future. We were preparing to celebrate the birthday of the Punkraft bar and invited the guys from Jungle to visit, including in order to brew beer together.
– In Ukraine, you cooked a milkshake with blueberries. Which variety was selected for reciprocal collaboration?
Philip Kupriyanovich (Jungle Brewery): We took the same recipe as a basis, slightly corrected the fall asleep and decided to acidify the wort. For this, we used Ukrainian sourdough with four types of lactobacilli. We also plan to add blueberries, and maybe raspberries, to our new variety. Since we brewed strong, dense and slightly sweet beer at the exit, in the response collaboration we decided to make it the exact opposite. Expect a light, strong variety with moderate acidity.
– How are things with craft beer in Ukraine now?
Evgeny Bilichenko: From the point of view of a contractor, I cannot but note that a large number of breweries of different sizes are opening. However, given their approach, they can be called craft with a stretch. There is still a shortage of truly enthusiastic people on the market, for whom beer is not only a business, but also a locomotive for the development of a drinking culture. “Dvizhuha” in the craft beer segment, according to my feelings, is still weak. Sasha can tell us a little more about what is happening on the market, because thanks to his profession he is more involved in all the subtleties and processes in the market.
Alexander Dzengilevsky: In my opinion, Ukrainian breweries lack elementary marketing. A very small part of the guys who brew beer know how to sell it. Very often these are standard varieties, which they designate as: “light unfiltered”, “lager”, “porter”. Beer itself is sometimes of very good quality, you can even enter the general market with it.