Amber, dark, lager, flavoured, rice or chestnut beer: in Ticino the world of craft beers caters to all tastes and is full of pleasant surprises.
A new, exciting trend is taking off, but its local roots date back almost 200 years. It was 1828 when the very first concession for producing beer in Ticino was registered by Felice Lombardi from Airolo. From that moment, nothing was ever the same again. Throughout Ticino, above all in the Mendrisiotto region, breweries sprung up, to be replaced in the second half of the 20th century by large-scale national and international groups. This trend was only reversed in the 1990s when there was a boom in craft breweries.
Bioggio, Monte Brè and Monte Lema are just a few of the Lugano area destinations which are most loved by beer enthusiasts though our local beers can also be found in numerous supermarkets as well as restaurants and local grottos [simple rural taverns].
But what makes beer drinking such a deeply rooted tradition in our culture, so much so that around 55 litres are consumed per head every year? The answer lies in the power of tradition; beer has always been synonymous with drinking in company, socialising and meeting up with friends (“partners” in the local parlance) and this is surely where our Mediterranean DNA comes in.
Whether it’s the old “Lugano beer” which our grandparents once quaffed or a contemporary beer from the Officina della Birra, drinking in company is simply more fun! And modern breweries are certainly not resting on their laurels; the number of Ticino breweries has surged by 30% in the last two years, testifying to the fact that this beverage has undoubtedly entered the hearts of Ticino’s inhabitants. This must be because it encapsulates so many local flavours and tastes. These are respected and enhanced by the requirement to use local raw materials for 80% of the entire production in order to be able to claim certification as a local beer.