Our core value
When we founded Gweilo, just over 3 years ago, one of our reasons for doing so was to make a fresh, locally brewed beer available to the masses at the most affordable price possible. We passionately believe craft beer should be accessible to everyone. We dreamed that one day, Gweilo would be available in supermarkets and convenience stores so that people could drink local beer easily, without having to search for it.
We occasionally hear ‘Gweilo is no longer craft’, simply because we are readily available across Hong Kong at a great price. Some bars have refused to list our beers because they are available in supermarkets at $22 – yet they will happily sell Carlsberg, San Miguel and the like for $75 a pint, seemingly not deterred by the fact they are available for $7-8 in convenience stores.
People in the industry have said from day one that our beers are too cheap, that we have eroded the ‘craft margin’, that we are making craft ‘mainstream’. Everyone is entitled to their opinion but for us, replacing a selection of macro lagers with a range of locally brewed unpasteurised craft beers is the dream. We’re immensely proud our Core Range is listed in supermarkets and now Circle K, as it is at the very essence of our being: to make a fresh, locally brewed beer to the highest possible standard and available to the masses at the most affordable price.
We wanted to write this post to explain a little more about our beers and our aims, so that you can fully understand what we want to be and where we want to go.
Our Beers and our vision
At present, we have 4 ranges: Core, Seasonal, 1000L Batch Range and Collaboration.
Our Core Range beers are intended to be everyday, approachable beers: Pilsner, Wit, Pale Ale, IPA, American IPA and Stout. These are well made examples of known styles and are some of the best value local beers in town. These are your solid, reliable, everyday craft beers, which we price as competitively as possible whilst still being able to make a living.
Our Seasonal Range is a step up from the Core Range and is a little more adventurous. Our first summer seasonal was Gutsy Guava IPA, a West Coast IPA made with bags of Guava Puree from the US.
Our 1000L Batch series is our experimental platform, which aims to push the boundaries. We just launched Berrylicious Saison: 650 litres of Saison blended with 350kg of Blackberry, Raspberry, Strawberry and Boysenberry. This was extremely expensive to make and thus extremely expensive to buy, but it serves a very different purpose to the Core Range and would never be available in a convenience store.
Our Collaboration Range is aimed at working with others to make fun and individual beers. We recently launched a Hazy Yuzu IPA in collaboration with Kagua. This was made with fresh NEIPA and Ale yeast flown in from the US and ‘dry hopped’ with the very best Yuzu possible: from Umaji Village of Kochi, Japan.
The maximum size brew we can do is 30 BBL (around 3,500 Litres). Granted we have one of the bigger brew decks in Hong Kong, but it is tiny by US craft standards. We use the finest malt we can source, hops from US and New Zealand and wet yeast air freighted in from the US. We don’t use any artificial flavorings or additives. All of our Core beers are made from four basic ingredients: Malt, Hops, Yeast and Water.
We have our own draught technician and venue trainer, we manage our own distribution and logistics and we have a low minimum order quantity to ensure our beer is kept cold and fresh back at the brewery for as long as possible.
We do not discount our beers. Our price list is our price. We charge supermarkets and convenience stores the same price as everyone else. We set our margin as low as possible in pursuit of our core aim: To make fresh, locally brewed beer available to the masses at the most affordable price possible.
We’re the first locally brewed craft beer available in chain convenience stores in HK and we couldn’t be happier. We hope you enjoy a vastly improved option at a great price when you’re picking up a can from your local store.
Emily, Ian and Joe.
Founders, Gweilo Beer.