Brewer Talks: Meet The Brewmaster Behind The Award-Winning Belgian Tripel at Latambarcem Brewers
From drinking beer and trying different beer styles to now producing award-winning beers, Pritish Rathod, Brewmaster at Latambarcem Brewers sits down with Brewer World and talks about his brewing journey and his role as a brewer. He further shares his thoughts on the evolution of the craft beer industry and shares a piece of advice for someone seeking a career in brewing.
Tell us about your brewing journey. How did you get into the industry, and where did your passion and knowledge for brewing craft beers come from?
It all started when I got into drinking beer! I used to make it a point to try different brands, that is when I realized each beer tasted different from the other. The immense diversity in the beer styles made me curious to know about the process and ingredients responsible for the change in aroma and taste. While I was doing my bachelors we had a course on beer fermentation, which gave me a great knowledge about how beer is made and how the process impacts the outcome of the beer profile. I took this as a sign and knew that this is where I wanted to head my career. My interests were heightened at this point and so I planned my further studies in the brewing field and completed my Masters in Wine, Brewing & Alcohol technology. I am blessed to have amazing mentors who have guided and supported me in my brewing journey.
What does a typical day at work look like for you?
I start my day with tasting all the beers in the tank and going through their QC parameters to make sure they are fermenting and maturing properly. A part of my day requires me to order and conduct quality analysis on raw materials required for brewing. At the Start of a brew day, I make sure all the SOPs are briefed and subsequently followed including, checks on proper sanitation for all equipment. I am there to troubleshoot any problem faced during the process and make sure all brewing parameters are matching the desired outcome.
Around 80% of the brewing process is cleaning so you are always cleaning something and so a lot of my time goes managing my team to ensure sanitary practices are always maintained. I make time for research and to tweak the product recipes, trying to make them better. I follow a step-by-step procedure to change the recipes as I cannot change the water profile, malt bill, hop varieties and yeast strain all at once, and know what impacts the beer; subtle changes are the key to improvement. Developing and experimenting new recipes, doing trial brews and furthermore replicating them on the production brewhouse is an adventure I must say.
In the end, I have to take great care in packaging the finished beer in bottles, it is one of the hardest challenges I face, which are then distributed in different states and countries of the world.
What challenges did you encounter when you first started in the brewing industry? How did you overcome them?
Setting up and commissioning the equipment was my biggest challenge. We as a team had sleepless nights to get our equipment to do what we wanted it to do. I had already brewed before and formulating recipes seemed difficult, given this challenge I realized formulating recipes was the easier part, what really turns you up is the management of your equipment and your people. I was fortunate enough to have a team that adhered with the requirements to make an industry grow to this scale.
Can you take us through the production process? Which process or step do you enjoy the most?
The production process consists of 8 steps milling, mashing, lautering, boiling, whirlpooling, fermenting, maturation, and packaging. But what I appreciate most is how I come to this process.
What do you think about the growth of the craft beer market in India?
India has seen an increase in craft beer sales. Consumers want fresh flavors and ingredients, rather than the regular mainstream styles and many people have replaced their primary drink from alcoholic hard liquor to beer. The India craft beer market is also witnessing a shift from mass-produced beer to small brews made with fresh ingredients. I believe that support from the Indian government is necessary for the growth of the craft beer industry.
What, according to you, are a few skills that are necessary to be a successful brewer?
Attention to detail, the ability to solve problems and of course passion towards beer is crucial to being a successful brewer. I believe making rules to brew inhibits one’s growth and one should keep trying and innovating to become a true craft brewer.
What is the one piece of advice you would like to give to someone who is seeking a career in brewing?
Sheer dedication is required to be a successful craft brewer. As mentioned earlier, attention to detail is key. Knowing your limits is your limit to brewing. Never restrict yourself to the rules and keep pushing yourself to break barriers in the brewing industry.
Are there any new releases at Latambarcem Brewers or any expansion plans?
Yes, we have recently launched a lager and will be coming up with a strong ale in a couple of weeks. We are a craft brewery that believes in experimenting and creating intellectual property even if we do not release the brews, therefore my job requires me to keep coming up with new release options.
Which is your favorite beer from Latambarcem Brewers and why?
The award winning Belgian Tripel is my favorite beer because of its complexity and flavor profile (Spicy & Fruity) which you can never get bored of. A beer that is music to your palate but gets you drunk as well.
What do you do when you are not brewing?
Cooking, exploring food joints and getting baked at the beach while watching sunset.