According to wikipedia.org, April 6, 1933, marked the end of Prohibition in the United States, with the sale of beer becoming legal in the United States on April 7 of that year.
“On the evening of April 6, people lined up outside breweries and taverns, waiting for midnight when they would be able to legally purchase beer for the first time in over 13 years. Since then, the night of April 6 has been referred to as New Beer’s Eve and April 7 is known as National Beer Day.
Today, beer is big business. Worldwide the industry is worth US$250 billion. Here in Barbados alone we Bajans quaff nearly two million cases a year of the stuff!
So we think we know our beer? Well, recently we were denied the enjoyment of the fastest growing sector in the industry –– craft beer. That is, until entrepreneur Glyn Partridge brought us 10 Saints.
Celebrating its second anniversary this month, 10 Saints’ birthday coincides with Beer Day, so I celebrated the day by hanging with Glyn himself who promised to buy me my first 10 Saints premium beer. Confession: “I had a beer and I liked it.”
Okay, since I’m being honest, I actually had more than one. Now, this in itself is significant praise for the 10 Saints brew, for I never quite liked the taste of beer on its own, though I’d use it as a base for cocktails.
As elegantly as I thought I looked in my flowing black jersey dress, the bottle of beautiful golden ale placed before me by the bartender was exquisite.
A beautiful black and gold label with matching neck tag hugged the bottle, perfectly complementing the lovely honey golden colour of the nectar inside, as crystal beads of water clung to the bottle seemingly wanting to be a permanent part of the décor.
I experienced mixed feelings as the bartender poured my first 10 Saints into a glass. How would it taste? What would I say? I intended to be brutally honest, but I was not sitting with some marketing agent but the brewer himself.
However, as the cold ambrosia caressed my taste buds and glided down my throat, I knew I could honestly tell Glyn that his brew was great. It is so smooth and pleasant to the palate, it is no wonder that in only two years 10 Saints has established itself as Barbados’ leading premium beer and is already exported to nine markets, competing in the luxury high-end trendy bars and clubs in Europe’s capital cities.
In London, 10 Saints is available at Chelsea Football Club, thanks to Roman Abramovich, who discovered the brew while visiting Barbados on his yacht Eclipse. An introduction into Germany followed attendance at the Anuga Trade Fair sponsored by Caribbean Export, a first for any beer from the Caribbean. From the home of rum to the home of beer. This spring will also see brand launches in Canada, the United States and Russia.
According to the American Brewers Association, to qualify as a craft brewer, the company must be small, independent and innovative, and focused on producing beers. Real beer, made by real people, for real beer lovers is the association’s motto.
According to the association, the craft beer industry has emerged as a consumer backlash to the big corporate, bland, tasteless beers with big bucks advertising that features everything but the product. While these large companies suffer declining sales in the developed markets, the craft beer industry has been growing at an amazing rate, with new breweries opening up daily –– almost 3,000 in the United States, 1,500 in Britain, with numerous more from Beirut to Ho Chi Min.
And now here in Barbados, the sector has been pioneered by 10 Saints which produces a “world first” with its unique process of oak aging. The idea sprung to life when Glyn Partridge in Barbados organizing Jazz On The Beach, an annual charity music festival in Speightstown, visited the Mount Gay Distillery and had the great idea of aging beer in rum casks.
After two years of product development, working at the time with Ian Herok, professor of brewing at the Heriot-Watt University in Edinburgh, Scotland, Glyn and crew knew they had a great brew.
10 Saints is a most interesting taste experience, a refreshing light lager, but with real flavour, subtle and balanced yet the oakiness comes through in the aroma, with a tasty hint of vanilla and tropical spices, followed by a very smooth rum after-taste. And so more-ish!!!
Unfortunately, as a chick who preferred beer in mixes or as shandies, I decided to try lemon and lime in my second one, thinking it would taste even better. Big mistake! This beer needs absolutely no help and was actually at its best on its own.
From the taste to the branding and packaging, 10 Saints is a fantastic salute to Barbados. The authenticity and heritage of this Bajan brew is endorsed by the name 10 Saints after the ten Saint parishes of Barbados; and the award-winning label design completes the package.
Glyn say’s “the Caribbean is known for rum and Barbados is the home of rum, 10 Saints brings 300 years of rum heritage to every bottle of refreshing beer”. So here’s to beer –– Bajan-style; and cheers to Beer Day and 10 Saints’ birthday. Hoping another Bajan success story can conquer the world.
By the way, I got so caught up with the superb beer product that I neglected to tell you about the visionary and brewer behind it all. Who really is he?
Glyn Partridge is a serial entrepreneur with a string of business start-ups to his credit in drinks, licensing, dance, publishing and contemporary private members clubs (Sean Connery, Ewan McGregor and Madonna were members). He is a genuine glomad (global nomad), having travelled far and wide his entire life, living in Hong Kong, the Middle East, East Africa, the United States, Britain, and, of course, beautiful, beautiful Barbados.
Among his achievements, Glyn was voted Hong Kong’s Entrepreneur Of The Year and, on a lighter note, Scotland’s Most Eligible Bachelor; so, ladies, take note. I found him to be a true gentleman, who’s company was most delightful.
Which was better? The company or the beer? Why don’t you find out for yourself? The beer may be found at many locations, but finding the man may be more of a challenge.