If the only inhabitants of To Øl City were brewers it wouldn’t be much of a city, and that’s why the idea is to create a kind of craft beverage hub, where we’re inviting other talented producers to Svinninge. After years of brewing on other people’s facilities ourselves, we’re now in a position to pay it forward. Meet Æblerov and Læsk.
Where most people entering the old ‘Building 1’ might see a cold and raw area, fit only for rave parties, the guest producers at To Øl City see opportunities: Danish cider producer Æblerov took on Building 1 at To Øl City as quite an upgrade from their previous facility. Co-founder of Æblerov Morten Sylvest-Noer explains how he saw the space for the first time:
Check out the full To Øl City story as we’re releasing the webdoc-episodes on YouTube. Fourth episode about the hub and inhabitants of To Øl City can be watched here.
»It looked like something out of an American horror film with tumbleweeds rumbling through the open spaces here. The building had a hole in the entrance, the stairs were rusty, and there were giant puddles of water everywhere. But then we opened the door and saw that there was a fully functional food production facility here. It was fantastic,« he says, adding:
»There was some leftover red cabbage on the floors along with old labels from Beauvais. It’s raw with white tiles on the walls, large sash windows where the sun creeps through on cold, clear days and even though you’re inside, it feels like you’re under the blue skies. Also, driving here through the countryside where our products actually grow gives us a feeling of getting closer to the produce that we’re so happy to turn into cider.«
For the non-Danish speaking, Æblerov means apple scrumping – or hunting for apples. And that was exactly how the company was founded by Morten Sylvest-Noer and Christopher Melin back in the day. Hunting for apples and bringing them all home to the basement of Morten’s parents, they brewed cider like another garage band. After three years of producing with growing success, they moved on to a bigger location at the old ‘Grønttorvet’ in Valby, Copenhagen. In the end of 2019 they moved in to To Øl City, and we’re excited to have them in our hub!
Not rocket science
Æblerov’s vision resonates with ours giving us freedom to explore and collaborate with each other; further contributing to the total portfolio of craft beverages and knowledge of quality production in Denmark. According to Morten cider is fairly easy to do and he hopes to have more people invested in revolutionizing the world of ciders in Denmark.
»Creating great cider is not rocket science, it’s a matter of the quality of the produce, the best apples and the best pears and so forth. It’s not a lot of tricks and tweaks, and we try to tell that to as many people as we can through workshops. We can’t create a cider-drinking culture by ourselves, but if we can get more people interested in ciders, together we can create a cider revolution,« he says:
»When you talk about cider in Denmark, people tend to think about alcopops, but that has little to do with real cider. Real cider is made exclusively from natural products; fresh apples and pears, pressed and fermented. We don’t add any yeast, additives or sugar – we leave nature to do its magic,« Morten explains.
Same procedure as champagne
Talking to Morten about cider, he gets really excited about it’s very special profile, that’s something between wine and beer – doing a little bit of both. The acidity of wine, the low alcohol of beer:
»The wild yeast strings on the fruits are the ones kickstarting the fermentation process, and the delicate little bubbles are created organically while the juice ferments in bottles – the same procedure as with champagne. The result is a crisp and complex cider.«
To Øl City’s rural location means that it’s surrounded by unused green space, and Æblerov has already set their eyes on possible future endeavours in the shape of a local orchard.
»When we started going apple picking, the majority of our apples came from our parents’ apple trees. Now we have an organic certification, which means we buy from different orchards. The prospect of becoming self-sufficient by having our own orchard really appeals to us. To come closer to nature, to the produce, and to have greater influence on the cider we produce, but also to be able to show people the process of where cider comes from and how ciders are made.«
Thirst quenching kombucha
We want To Øl City to be a place where producers of quality beverages and other products can grow. It’s the vision of a craft beverage hub. Æblerov has already set up production, and soon To Øl City will be hosting kombucha brewing too, when the organic kombucha brewery Læsk (Danish for quench) moves in.
»I see To Øl City as a blank canvas. It’s exciting that we can all come together and decide how it should look – and on our own terms,« says Eric Sponseller, co-founder and head brewer at Læsk.
Eric and co-founder Line Hoff have since 2016 been working to show Denmark the amazing world of kombucha. Kombucha is a fermented soft drink made by fermenting a slightly sweetened tea. In a process similar to beer and cider, the brewing takes place over a period of seven days using a symbiotic culture of bacteria and yeast, also known as SCOBY.
»There is much more taste to kombucha compared to sodas. The flavours are complex and develops because of the fermentation, which also means, there’s a lot less sugar in it,« Eric says.
Inviting Læsk to move to To Øl City was a no brainer for us. They have a mindset for brewing quality products, that are new and exciting, adding to the total portfolio of soft drinks in Denmark.
»The food and drink scene in Denmark has exploded in recent years, but non-alcoholic drinks hasn’t really followed suit. We would like to change people’s perception of soft drinks; that it can be something totally different than a sugary soda and instead be something with sweet and sour notes, that’s also beneficial to you,« says Eric.