Owner of forty-two wine estates around the world, Bernard Magrez is also known for his numerous projects in the sector. But his latest idea did not fail to surprise the world of wine: the 85-year-old Bordeaux businessman is embarking on “ craft beer “. This summer, he is setting up a craft brewery in the heart of one of his estates, Château Le Sartre, in Léognan.
The objective, to release its first beers in the fall, under the Nunka brand, in reference to « never give up », never give up, the leitmotif of Bernard Magrez. “We have to go there because it takes market share from wine. So either we look at it from a distance and we say to ourselves “we’ll see”, or we just go ”, adds “ the man with 40 châteaux ».
In the middle of its vines, the Bordeaux region intends to start by producing 600 hectoliters per year, then go up to 1 200, with a range of beers « classics “, white, amber, blonde, IPA and stout. If Bernard Magrez is embarking on this project, it is because the phenomenon is becoming more and more widespread. In recent years, craft beer has taken pride of place in the brewing landscape.
Beer is flowing freely
According to 2020 figures from the Association des brasseurs de France, France is the leading European country in terms of number of breweries (and the eighth largest beer producer in Europe) : there are 2 300, against only 200 in 2007. The trend has not spared the Gironde. Craft beer has managed to find a place in the middle of the largest AOC vineyard in the world.
In 2010, the Gasconha brewery in Pessac was one of the first to set up in the Gironde region, which today has 61 breweries. « We were almost too far ahead of the needs and we did not feel legitimate. Today, we really feel that it is a given, in wine merchants but also in supermarkets and the general public ”, explains Nathanaël Rogier, co-manager and master brewer at Gasconha. In the year of its launch, the brewery was producing 50 hectoliters per year. Today it has grown to 2 400 – or 750 000 bottles of 33 cl. The objective of Gasconha: « Stay very local. “
“It was much more difficult for me to set up a brewery in Lille than in Bordeaux, because there are fewer players here. There are 425 châteaux in Saint-Emilion alone, the day there will be so many brasseries, we’ll talk about it again. »Vincent Morin, brewer
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