They want to put Oslo on the world map
THE GUYS BEHIND OSLO BREWING COMPANY LIKE TO THINK BIG. WITH ITS TASTY “GJØK-ØL” IN THEIR HANDS THEY SAY THEY WANT TO MARKET OSLO ALL OVER THE WORLD.
We are already established in Japan, at least sort of, manager and part owner at Oslo Brewing Company, Dimitri Yogaratnam quips with a smile. Thanks to a cooperation with Café Fuglen, that have two cafeterias in Tokyo plus a small bar with the unique name “Øl by Oslo Brewing Company”, they are already, on a small scale, marketing Oslo and their beers internationally. We want to prove that we are serious about putting Oslo on the map internationally, says Dimitri. He also reveals that he would like to get something going in his hometown Boston in the U.S., but that it is more of a dream than reality now.
A “cuckoo” brewery
Oslo Brewing Company bases its existence on the idea of promoting Oslo. We were nine friends sharing a love for Oslo and who conceived this idea together, says Dimitri. I am a professional chef while other members of the group have studied graphic design and communication. The beer market is tough and it is important that we are innovative and creative when it comes to marketing and design – and of course when it comes to the beer itself.
The group has its headquarters at Smelteverket in Oslo´s Mathallen and seems to neither lack creativity nor innovation. We are what you may call a cuckoo brewery (gjøk = cuckoo), Sindre Ingebrigtsen says with a laugh. He left a career in the world of finance for a job as head brewer and responsible for the company´s products. We brew our beers at other breweries, but with our recipes and processes. The three types of beer, Norwegian Blond, California Lager and Mellow IPA are brewed in Arendal. Recently, we brewed with Borg in Reykjavik: Gill, brewed with wild yeast.
Starting help from Palmer
Oslo Brewing Company has had a flying start since its first beer was introduced in June 2016. From May 1, the company delivers to all of Norway thru ASKO and delivers to among others, Norgesgruppen. It has been like a fairytale, from the first deliveries to Horeca to where we are represented on the shelves in grocery stores all over the country. At the beginning, we took care of sales and distribution ourselves. But the partnership with Palmer has taken us to a whole new level, says Dimitri.
In 2016 Oslo Brewing Company sold 25 000 liters of beer – in 2017 the company expects to surpass 100 000 liters. We are kicking in doors in an already over-filled market. But since we keep bringing more beers to the market, we believe we also bring in more customers, adds Sindre. People are curious about new types of beer. Therefore, we put a lot of effort into launching something new all the time. Our new Oslo IPA, for example, is made from a new recipe at every launching. In June, we launch #oslove as a tribute to the Gay Pride Week. It is a passion fruit-blond beer that we believe in. And we, of course, hope that the products will speak for themselves.
First we are going to build a brand name in Norway, then focus internationally, says Dimitri, who is not afraid that old city/periphery conflicts will be a hindrance for the brand name. Oslo is going to be everybody´s capital, he says firmly. A thousand years after we conquered half of Europe with mead and swords, it is not unthinkable that Oslo Brewing Company can accomplish it again – in a far friendlier way than our ancestors.