Brewer Artūras Perednis: How Does Developing New Tastes Resemble a Game of Chess?
Brewing equipment and technologies in Lithuania have changed significantly over the last 30 years. Today, scientific innovations are actively applied, global trends are followed and the country’s brewery traditions are viewed more creatively. “But the most important thing for a brewer is iron patience” emphasizes Artūras Perednis, the Production Director of the Gubernija brewery, who has been brewing beer for more than 20 years.
Production Director Artūras Perednis is convinced that patient work, extensive professional knowledge and modern production equipment ensure the highest product quality. At the same time, it provides confidence and inspiration to develop new drinks.
“I like to travel, taste, explore, discover. Often happens, when tasting one dish or another, or an unusual combination of ingredients, I come up with ideas for a new taste. Gubernija always boldly offers innovations and taste discoveries to the market” says Perednis, for whom creativity is no less important than professional competence and scientific knowledge. According to him, there are no coincidences in production – all processes are carefully planned and attentively managed. Of course, modern technology makes all these tasks easier.
Developing a new taste is like playing chess
“Do you need a new team member? I could be a taster” Perednis often hears similar suggestions and responds to them with a smile. On the other hand, he notices that in recent years the consumer culture in Lithuania has been actively changing, consumers are looking for information about production traditions, processes, raw materials and taste characteristics.
“Travel experience and the increased opportunities for people to develop their taste and take an interest determine that the public’s attitude to taste is changing significantly, and the perception is deepening. A significant proportion of consumers today are already trying to responsibly combine drinks with food, can clearly distinguish between types of drinks, feel the aftertaste and make informed choices. And that’s great because we, the manufacturers, must brace up. Therefore, every day we make efforts to create what is best” says Gubernija’s Production Director.
He admits that producers are happy when consumers ask, are interested, want to discuss and share their impressions. “Then we feel support that our creativity and work are valued” says Perednis. According to him, supporting each other is very important, and it is the relationship with the local community that is the greatest responsibility. “We must first live up to expectations of our own people” says Gubernija, the Production Director.
Therefore, according to him, the profession of brewer is not only continuous improvement and the pursuit of mastery, but also exceptional attention to the detail, great precision and chess player‘s intuition based on careful calculation and experience. “There is simply no room for reckless decisions” adds Perednis.
Follows global trends
Throughout his career, he had to brew a wide variety of beers, but when creating recipes and making drinks, the master always thinks about consumers, their needs and priorities.
Perednis says that in order to find out the latest trends and gain knowledge and inspiration, he attends various beer exhibitions in Lithuania and abroad. Each time he discovers new flavors there, which fuel inspiration.
“I also pay a lot of attention to following the latest news of the craft drinks – after all, sometimes the best result lies somewhere in the middle between classic and bold gourmet solutions, which is what I try to discover in my daily work” says Perednis.
He notes that over the last few years, sales of IPA (Indian Pale Ale) and American IPA beers have grown significantly in the world, and now brewers abroad are experimenting by changing, even softening the traditional taste of IPA and adding various flavors and aromas. According to Perednis, this proves that creativity accompanies the profession of brewer all over the world.
A new and bold offer for the non-alcoholic beer market
Gubernija’s Production Director, who has accumulated rich professional experience, can tell many stories about various types of Lithuanian beer, raw materials and production processes. He also can see very well the whole development of the country’s beer industry – decades ago, breweries abandoned obsolete equipment and other Soviet legacy, implemented modernization and is constantly improving.
Therefore, even the best brewers in the country always follow innovations and trends in the popularity of beverages abroad and create new recipes. One of the most striking examples is the non-alcoholic Gubernija beer called Naked Brown Ale, which recently appeared on the shelves of retail outlets – the first non-alcoholic dark ale in Lithuania, the production process of which required truly non-traditional solutions.
“When updating the Gubernija product basket, we appreciated the changing habits of the society – more and more consumers have recently been choosing non-alcoholic beverages, from which they expect an innovative, attractive taste. When considering the idea of Naked Brown Ale, we immediately decided that we wanted to create a dark beer with a pure and rich taste. We realized that such a product would be the first in Lithuania, which gave the creative and production process a kind of excitement” says Perednis.
Strives for the highest score only
After defining the vision of the new drink, the brewer and the team immediately got to work. First of all, it was necessary to find the right ingredients – the ones that would help to create a rich taste. “We tested a wide variety of malt, as well as hop samples. It took several attempts until we finally found the right type of malt for us and decided to use bitter Magnum hops. We are satisfied with the result – it all gave the beer a harmoniously expressed bitterness and a unique aroma” says the Production Director.
In order for brewed beer to be non-alcoholic, it was necessary to replace and carefully control the subsequent traditional beverage production process. At almost every stage, a team of brewers conducted tastings to ensure the quality of the drink and to make sure the processes were going according to plan.
“Traditionally, during tastings, we evaluate the drink according to several different criteria – we give points to the taste, appearance and aroma of the beer. We taste not only beer that is still being brewed or fermented, but also one that has already been poured into containers – we need to be sure that the quality remains flawless despite the changing conditions or the passing of time. And if at any stage we feel that we cannot give the maximum amount of points, we immediately improve the production process” says Perednis.
In total, the renewed Gubernija introduced four completely new drinks to consumers, including not only non-alcoholic beer. The cult Gubernija‘s Bread kvass was not an exception – the newly introduced light, wheat Gubernija‘s Bread kvass, made from specially baked and toasted bread, is a natural and exclusive product not only in Lithuania, but also abroad, as well as the dark rye kvass which has long been popular among consumers.
Planning the next season, Gubernija’s Production Director Perednis and his team promise to surprise consumers with a few more news.