The craft beer revolution
Kyiv may have been a little late to the party when it comes to the craft beer industry but it is a city determined to play catch up – and fast.
It probably comes as little surprise to anyone that Kyiv, post-revolution, is experiencing a form of rebirth. The craft beer scene is part of that. Sure, you may not find the diversity and quantity of the craft beer scene as it exists in the US, UK, or even that of Scandinavian countries, but the scene definitely exists and is burgeoning.
The term “craft beer” originates in the US but the practice actually began in the UK as microbrewing in the ‘70s, which made traditional beer, including the so-called “casque ale”. From there, the business crossed the Atlantic and in the 80’s appeared in America. Perhaps with the rise of “hipster” culture, craft beer at a global level is now more popular than it has ever been. The reasons for this are reasonably straight-forward.
In an age of globalization, people are increasingly supporting smaller-scale businesses, for example craft beer, specialty coffee, and more natural foods. There is an emphasis on supporting creative minds in smaller-scale industries that fall outside what was previously considered to be mainstream or large-scale. At what is a historical turning point like the one Ukraine is going through, that spirit is perhaps stronger here than anywhere. People have come together and the revolution has evolved from political to encompass all aspects of cultural life.
Cue, craft beer. Craft beers are unique and progressive and distinguish themselves from traditional ones, often being extremely hoppy and rich in flavour. The list of capital city producers is a lot longer than you might expect and continues to grow. More than 10 breweries have opened nationwide in the past three years; others brew on an industrial scale through contract-deals whereby they use the equipment of more established breweries.
Kyiv played host to its first dedicated craft beer festival only in 2016. The event was a smash hit with punters and brewers alike, attracting 14 exhibitors from across Ukraine keen to have their brews sampled. It is clear this is an industry on the rise. And like all things cultural and entertainment-focused in the Ukrainian capital, What’s On will explore the industry in depth in the coming issues, sampling both the brews and checking out the breweries themselves. Stay tuned.