Brewers in emerging markets turn to enzymes, says DSM

By Guy Montague-Jones

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags Enzymes Beer Brewing

Enzymes can help brewers in emerging markets take full advantage of local crops and therefore cut costs, protect the environment, and support local communities.

In an exclusive interview with Food Navigator, Lars Asferg, the DSM head of enzymes and dairy ingredients, explained how these advantages are contributing to the growing popularity of enzymes.

In Africa and Asia where local crops may be ill suited to brewing, the business unit director said enzymes can prove invaluable.

Instead of shipping in expensive crops from abroad, brewers can use enzymes to get the most out of the crops found on their doorstep. This saves them money and reduces the mileage run up by the raw materials, therefore helping to protect the environment.

By sourcing locally brewers are also able to support local farmers.

African example

Illustrating the argument, Asferg used the example of sorghum, which is a very important crop in Africa.

It has been used for years to make dark, heavy beers of variable quality but is not well suited to the process of brewing consistently high quality clear beers.

Barley is often imported to create the right sort of malt, but Asferg said DSM is working with brewers in Africa to create high quality beers using only sorghum thanks to the addition of enzymes. This saves local brewers money and allows them to help local farmers and the environment.

Enzymes can also be used in other parts of the world where local crops are not normally of a sufficiently high quality to be used alone in brewing.

Asferg said that in China the grade of local barley may not ordinarily be suitable for beer making but with the addition of enzymes the local crop can be used to make good quality beer.

As well as playing a bigger and bigger role in emerging markets, Asferg said enzymes are growing in popularity in developed markets.

New attitudes

He said enzymes were once viewed as a way of cutting corners but now a new generation of brewers has emerged who have a more positive outlook and realise that there are things that you are impossible to do without them.

Brewers wanting to create clear beers can avoid synthetic solutions like silicone gels and use enzymes instead to prevent haze from developing in the first place. Asferg said enzymes can also break down carbohydrates held in yeast and therefore help produce increasingly popular light beers.

The DSM executive said enzymes sales to brewers have grown sharply in the last few years but have slowed of late as the beer market contracts in the recession.

But Asferg said the company expects sales to rebound quickly because enzymes are such good brewing tools and can help beer makers achieve necessary cost cuts, maintain innovation and hit sustainability targets.

He claims that DSM is particularly well placed to meet future demand thanks to its broad enzyme portfolio and new online tool called Brew Coach that helps guide brewers through the formulation process.

Related topics Markets Emerging Markets

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