This spring the “scientific” lager produced in Sardinia, thanks to cooperation between the world of research, institutions and business, will be brought to the market. It is a product that shakes up the area of Sardinia. We talk about it with Luca Pretti, researcher at Porto Conte Ricerche.
What are the latest prospects for our country?
Currently, in Italy there is almost a monopolistic asset in the sales of such products. Few distributors supply more than 750 national micro-breweries. Heterogeneous production do not only regard the prepared specialties, but also types of production plants that presently can be identified in three categories: micro-breweries correctly referred to as brew pubs (where beer is produced and consumed at the same place) and beer firms (producers who use third party’s plants).
Is there a winning recipe allows being distinguished?
In the project that we are managing, we have evaluated malting of a single variety of barley, in order to obtain a unique variety of malt. The data that we have tell us that the climate conditions on the island are compatible with cultivation of both malted barley and hops, but the economy is yet to be defined: large-sized industry accounts for 99% of the market, and the artisan one, which is clearly diversified, only 1%.
Moreover, the economies of scale adopted by the large-sized industry are unacceptable for the artisan producers. If the sizing and the demand of a single micro-brewery, by means of a micro-malt house associated thereto, then it would be possible to shake up the market with the local and inexpensive products. However, this impulse has not occurred yet and there is still a long way to go for it to appear. In any case, it is a strategic choice of each and every micro-brewery. Indeed, for a majority of the island’s brewing masters, scarce guarantees of the quality of local products are a high risk factor.
So, what should we expect in the future?
This approach is the most doable when it comes to hops growing, because it is possible to deal with small cultivation at an exclusive use of micro-breweries which apply original recipes. Certainly, there are production costs that may not be ignored, and it is a way that does not ensure new employment opportunities, but the companies that want to invest in this direction have room for becoming more competitive. In such a case Porto Conte Ricerche is ready to take up such a challenge.