Back to normal

At some point it will come true
Lockdown, illnesses, a lot of repairs and so much more have cost us a lot of time. Restaurants has now been open outdoor in Greece since some weeks. Theoretically, we could open our beer garden – the brewing license is in sight. We are confident. Opening at the end of June! Keep your fingers crossed.

Helpers welcome
Greta from Cologne and Alejandro from Madrid were sent by heaven. They have been working as volunteers in various projects in Lefkada. www.tamonopatia.org. They are now completed. The lockdown also kept them in Lefkada longer than they wanted. Soon they will move on to Madrid. Until then they support us in exchange for board and lodging and bring a lot of young energy to TheBrewery. Katrin from Stuttgart cleaned the windows and brought fresh white asparagus from Germany. Our friends Gogol and Harry from Wood and Steel painted, siliconized, worked with wood and brought a bunch of old bar stools. www.facebook.com/lefkada.steel.and.wood

Beautiful living
Our second source of income, the holiday home rental, started cautiously because of the unclear travel situation. Now vacations are possible again without quarantine. We look forward to nice guests. Preveza / Aktio airport is 25 km away on the mainland and is served by many European cities. The island of Lefkas can be reached from the mainland via a bridge. Arrival by boat from Trieste, Venice, Ancona, Bari and Brindisi to Igoumenitsa. All information about the holiday home is available here: www.villa-kavalos.de


No Future?

Dry Spell
The virus has really thwarted our plans. We still don’t have a permit for the brewery. As in other countries, the authorities are working under difficult circumstances. Our application was stamped by the responsible office in May and is therefore officially submitted. According to our engineer, there is a new law that says that an application that is not processed after five weeks is considered approved. We would much prefer a proper permit. At the moment we cannot brew anyway because the system is not yet ready for operation. Paul does all the prep work on his own to save money. But we’ll definitely be ready for the tourist season.

The test beer tastes good
Paul’s favourite beer is Weissbier or Hefeweizen, which are extremely popular in Germany, especially in summer. It’s refreshing, fruity and slightly more carbonated than other beers. A slight taste of banana is typical of the Weihenstephan yeast he uses. The Weihenstephan monastery brewery is located in Bavaria and was founded almost 1000 years ago. This makes it the oldest brewery in the world and, among other things, it houses a comprehensive yeast bank. https://www.weihenstephaner.de/en/our-brewery/history/
Paul brews regularly in his test facility. Brewing uses spring water from Korpi. Korpi is a small town near Vonitsa. Unfortunately, Nestlé took over the use of the source a few years ago. The good thing: You can still get water for free at the old spa center. Traditionally, smaller tankers supply the Lefkader with this good water. In contrast to the millions and millions of corpi plastic bottles from Nestlé, this is environmentally friendly.

She bakes
So far, Paul has taken the lead when it comes to baking. I prefer to cook. For The Brewery, however, I planned pizza, pinsa, tarte flambée, etc. from the start. Savoury pastries go very well with beer. Most like it and working with dough is pleasant in the heat. I am practicing with my new pizza oven. It’s great how quickly the base gets crispy. The tarte flambée is already perfect. The base is very thin. Instead of crème fraîche, I use cream cheese and cream. Tastes delicious. Of course there won’t just be pizza. I have been very taken with the Greek meze tradition, but also tapas and “small plates”. I can be creative and the guest gets surprising things every time they visit. We won’t be forgetting good steaks. Paul loves fried and grilled beef and prefers to eat it “en bleu”. On the island, however, beef and lamb are always well cooked. In Greece there is, as far as I know, no tradition of pan-fried beef. Well hung steaks are not available from the butchers in Lefkada. Amazingly, there is wonderful fillet of beef that is very tender even when freshly butchered. We’ll stay tuned.

When will there be beer?
We would like to know that too. We may be able to start at the end of winter, it may take even longer. That depends entirely on Corona and the authorities. The project is tightly budgeted and nobody could have expected such initial difficulties. We want to go on. But we can’t let costs get out of control. Good things take time. Keep your fingers crossed and everything will be fine.
Good health! Υγεία!


Going on

Pleasant pastimes
The sun was shining frequently now in January. The air is sometimes pleasant 20 degrees. The sea is fresh at maybe 16 degrees. Paul still likes to swim. We can still divide our time freely. That will change soon.

Clamping
In our almost one-year waiting period there were some disappointments. Two locations that we found very good did not work. The owner simply rented a very attractive beer garden on the outskirts of Lefkas town, which was actually promised to us, without information to others. A former tavern in Karya, for which we and our dear neighbors, as language assistants, had invested a lot of time, turned out to be impossible to rent because the heirs could not agree.

So we had a lot of time for other things. Paul set up the caravan site in June and July so that when we rent our house in summer we have a new wonderful place to live. All in nature. Surrounded by dear neighbors who made it possible for us. A very pleasant waiting time when you have the beach and the sea on your doorstep.

Now it’s getting serious
Today on January 20th we paid the deposit for “The Brewery” and signed a preliminary contract. Paul could hardly wait to push the rather heavy brewing kettles to his new home on his new “dog”. Lefteri, on whose property the container with our brewery is located, is always extremely helpful and has transported the kettles with crane and truck 200 m to the location.


From Plan to Beer

Yeah, the Key

Now we have it. The lease for the former tavern has not yet been signed, but it is as good as. The two owners Dimitris and Spyros live in Montreal, are very cooperative, but it takes time. They look forward to tenants who reliably pay the rent. Hopefully we can do that.

Name, Logo, First Steps

I had already thought of “The Brewery” in Stuttgart. We think it fits the location. English is spoken here anyway. The Greek word for this is ζυθοποιεία, meaning “zythopiía” with TH and double-i, inexpressible and unknown to many Greeks. How to make beer is much less known here than in for example Germany. After all, there are now almost 50 small breweries in Hellas. The big ones like Mythos, Fix and Alpha are all part of international groups. As far as we know, we will be the first local brewery in all of Greece – and, unlike in Germany, several licenses are needed to operate it

Let there be Beer

Paul can finally free his brewery from the container. He will take her to her destination little by little now. It will be used in the restaurant behind a glass wall (separation is a requirement). A double floor with drain has to be built, pipes have to be adapted, ventilation has to be planned. Paul is a model maker and hobby brewer. He is extremely skilled in his craft and technically so curious that he is at home in a large number of trades. He calculated that if we wanted to make the slightest profit, the location had to be cheap (it is) and most of the work had to be done by ourselves. 24% VAT and 15% alcohol tax are one word. The calculated beer price is high.


Prolog

The Brewery

This is the gastronomic project of two Germans on the Ionian island of Lefkada, who want to run a small local brewery there. Marion and Jürgen have known Lefkada for almost 30 years. The love for the island started with sailing. Then they built a holiday home in the quaint mountain village of Kavalos from 1998 and finally they moved from Stuttgart to Greece in 2019 into their beer future.

The Brewery Equipment

In 2018 their Irish friend Brendan offered them a small used brewery. He is a brewer himself and represents a Chinese manufacturer. She arrived in Piraeus in November 2018, was transported to Lefkada and has been waiting for them ever since.

Search a Year

Finding a suitable location for the Microbrewery turned out to be quite difficult. Lefkada lives from tourism and free spaces are rare. 2020 started with a surprise for the young entrepreneurs: A previously unattractive location in Lazarata, a neighboring town of Kavalos, turns out to be practical and easy to rent.