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The Next Time You’re at a Bar or Restaurant, Try Asking for Engkanto Craft Beers

The homegrown craft beer brand is slowly gaining recognition and expanding to more outlets.
IMAGE Chateau Group
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The Philippines may still be inundated with beer from the undisputed market leader, but smaller breweries that offer craft beer are certainly making inroads. Take Engkanto for instance. The craft beer brand from Cebuano entrepreneur Ian Paradies and business partner Josh Karten is now available at more bars and restaurants today than when they started in 2015.

“It’s difficult to say (how many bars/restaurant partners Engkanto has now) as many of our customers are handled through distributors, and some accounts carry us in multiple F&B outlets,” Paradies says. “We do have at this point over 200 accounts.”

The 1771 Group invited Ian Paradies to deliver a talk as part of the restaurant group's Guest Bartender Series


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That’s heartening news for craft beer enthusiasts in a country whose beer market is about 95-percent controlled by San Miguel. Although it’s many craft brewer’s dream to one day see their product sold in supermarkets or convenience stores, Paradies says the challenge for now is to familiarize customers about their product enough to go looking for it the next time they’re at Rustan’s Supermarket of 7-Eleven. Besides, craft beer is typically priced a bit higher than commercial brews due to the absence of adjuncts or fillers in the brewing process, but patrons don’t seem to mind paying more for what is arguably a better product.

Guests sampled Engkanto's five beer variants


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“The range is quite wide as we work with so many types of establishments,” Paradies says. “Salamangka in Eastwood sells our lager for P99 while fine dining establishments and five-star hotels and resorts have the ability to sell for a higher price. But I would say general range for our lager would be between P120 to P180 pesos.”

Paradies, who gave a spirited talk about craft beer at Flatiron 1771 in Uptown Bonifacio last Wednesday night, said they hope to offer Engkanto to over 500 outlets by the end of 2019.

Beer with food

During his talk, Paradies brought out Engkanto’s five variants for guests to sample. He spoke about the differences between craft and commercial beer, the different tasting notes in each of the variants and what kinds of food goes well with each type of brew.

“The lager would go great with fried finger food like chicken tenders or pizzas,” Paradies says. “For the blonde ale, (it would) with work well with tomato-based pastas. Burgers or fish & chips with the pale ale. For the IPA, Thai food and lighter curries would go well with it, while the Double IPA would work wonderfully with anything barbecued.”

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Engkanto offers lager, pale ale, blond ale, IPA and double IPA


For its part Chateau 1771, which is part of the 1771 Group of Restaurants, already stocks two of Engkanto's brews—the blond ale and IPA—while Flatiron 1771 will carry the beers starting April. The restaurant group invited Paradies as part of its regular Guest Bartender Series.

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Paradies says the fledgling company has a few things coming up in its quest to educate more people about the pleasures of drinking craft beer.

“We are hoping to get our original 5BBL system transferred and installed in our new Carmona facility by May, which will then allow us to focus on specialty and seasonal beers,” he says. “Hopefully we can launch a few new variants every quarter. I would personally love to try a dalandan wheat beer and mango IPA soon.”

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Paul John Caña
Associate Editor, Esquire Philippines
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