Gubernija non-alcoholic beers among Europe’s best
The name of Lithuanian brewers shines bright again in Europe. “Non-alcoholic beer brewed in Gubernija’s brewery has won the highest awards at the international European Beer Challenge 2023 in London. In the UK, the non-alcoholic ‘Dark Ale’ won gold, and the non-alcoholic ‘Extra Lager’ was awarded silver by the jury.
In total, four Gubernija beers were submitted to judges: two non-alcoholic and two alcoholic. All of them won medals. The brewers returned to Šiauliai from London with three gold and one silver award.
“These awards and recognition prove that the country’s oldest brewery has been completely reborn, has blossomed, and has taken the art of brewing to a new level. The work of our brewers is on a par with the world’s most famous masters and even surpasses some of them. After all, many brewers from all over the world have participated in this competition. We have set ourselves a standard of excellence, and the awards show that we have achieved it. These victories in the international arena inspire us to keep going, to move forward with drive and persistence, which is the true character of Gubernija,” says Artūras Perednis, Production Director of the Šiauliai brewery.
The European award-winning beverages began their history in Lithuania in 2021 when the Gubernija brand was relaunched. Thus, although non-alcoholic dark ale and non-alcoholic lager can still be called newcomers to the market, they have gained popularity and recognition relatively quickly. Last year they were successfully exported to Georgia, Serbia, and even Japan, and this year Lithuanian beer, which is shining with gold and silver, is already being discovered by buyers in Poland.
A test of patience and diligence
A. Perednis, production director of the Gubernija brewery, says that a less alcoholic yeast race is used to produce the highest quality non-alcoholic beer in Šiauliai. “Our brewers are attentive and very patient, as the fermentation process is slower when producing non-alcoholic beer. However, this is why we can carefully control the alcohol content so that it is absolutely minimal, almost zero, at the end of the boil. Of course, patience and care are rewarded by the rich taste of the beer – you can distinguish a Gubernija non-alcoholic dark ale or lager from the others even when you close your eyes,” shares Production Director A. Perednis. He says that the taste of the beers submitted to the jury in London received many compliments, which are heartwarming for everyone in the brewery production team.
Šiauliai brewers note that Gubernija’s non-alcoholic dark ale is the first of its kind in Lithuania. In creating this drink, they have compared it to the best examples worldwide. The gold medal won in London proves that this decision was the right one – the ale has secured its place in the company of the best.
Our non-alcoholic dark ale is a pure and full-bodied beer with a perfectly balanced bitterness from Herkules and SAAZ hops and a blend of three malts to create a sweet caramel and dried fruit aroma.
“Gubernija’s non-alcoholic extra lager, which was awarded a silver medal in the European Beer Challenge 2023, is a light, pale non-alcoholic beer made with noble Saaz hops and Munich malt.
High Lithuanian quality bar
This is the first time the Gubernija brewery team and its beers have participated in one of Europe’s most prestigious and important beer-judging competitions. “We were very interested in this competition’s traditions, conditions, and environment. We saw many strong competitors with a long history of participating. However, this did not stop us, on the contrary, it fueled our enthusiasm to compete and make new friends, exchange experiences and knowledge. After all, brewing continues to evolve, and consumer tastes and preferences constantly change,” says Perednis. In total, Gubernija submitted four of its products to the jury.
Perednis admits that he had most hoped for the success of the non-alcoholic ‘Dark Ale’, which, according to a survey conducted last year by AC Nielsen, is the No 1 dark non-alcoholic beer in Lithuania. “If people like it here, why shouldn’t it get attention in London? We are Europeans to the fullest and know how to appreciate quality products”, is how Lithuanians entered the competition.
Last year, a total of 131 000 liters of non-alcoholic dark ale were produced – almost two trainloads.
Production of non-alcoholic Ekstra Lager was slightly lower last year, but sales on the Lithuanian market grew at a very strong pace, more than one and a half times, or 163 percent, compared to 2021.
The popularity of non-alcoholic beer is still rising
According to Perednis, this growth signals that consumers are discovering new Gubernija brand products in the non-alcoholic beer segment.
“Demand for this segment is not only growing in stores. Non-alcoholic beer is gaining more and more importance and weight in the beverage lists of restaurants and bars. Demands for quality and stylistic matching are increasing rapidly,” he notes, pointing out that the European Beer Challenge is the only beer competition in Europe where the jury members are people working in the beer trade chain, so they are opinion leaders in their field, with a perfect sense of taste trends and consumer expectations. “The high scores at the competition in London give our consumers and customers confidence in the high quality of our products and in the way they taste in terms of stylistic requirements,” concludes the Production Director of the Gubernija brewery.