David Holme, creator of Alepine, has carved out a niche for himself by bringing easily quaffable, quality beer to the mountains. Inspired by American pale ale, Alepine sits between boring mainstream lager and wacky craft beer and is the perfect post- mountain thirst quencher.
We are the (very proud) distributors of Alepine in France and it’s already made its way into a smorgasbord of chalets, restaurants and bars across the Alps. Last winter, the ESF instructors got a taste for the hoppy and refreshing brew, and it’s quickly become their go-to tipple after a long day teaching sprogs how to snow plough. What’s more, he’s committed 20% of net profits to ski charities and offers off-piste safety talks to seasonnaires.
We caught up with David to hear his take on the alpine food and booze revolution, mountain goers’ changing tastes and convincing the ladies that they don’t hate all beer.
Tell us a bit about how Alepine how came about
Alepine came about because there is, quite frankly, a lot of utterly crap beer offered in the ski industry. There’s been a bit of a revolution over the last 20 years, and the food and wine offered out here has improved a lot. That’s in part down to people like Le Verre Gourmand, who’ve introduced fantastic wine and really made that happen. What I don’t understand though is why people are happy to drink bland, mainstream lagers in the Alps, when in the UK and in the rest of the world, there is this amazing variety of incredible beers. In particular, the American pale ale market has completely erupted recently, and we want to bring characterful craft beer to the Alps.
How would you describe Alepine?
It’s a lightly carbonated, golden beer. As with a lager, it’s slightly bitter, but after a few sips, you start to appreciate the caramel flavour and fruitiness of it. Ultimately, its an easily quaffable pale ale. We’ve actually had a lot of success with people who are generally lager drinkers who don’t ‘think’ they like ale, and also with ladies who don’t tend to like beer. It’s amazing- 99% of the women who tell me they don’t like beer find themselves really enjoying Alepine.
Do you think mountain goers are developing more of a taste for beer?
Absolutely, the Alps is somewhere where a lot of beer is consumed- so why not make that good stuff? What we do has been great for beer as a whole in the Alps, because we’re making a lot of noise about the need for a more varied selection out here, and people are definitely getting wind of that and demanding more. I’d say our ultimate aim is to improve the beer scene in the alps, and that’s definitely happening.
Plus, we’re living in an international world now and when you can get amazing beer in London, you are going to expect it in the Alps. The world is so fast paced- if you’ve got good pale ale in one place, you should be able to get it everywhere. At the moment, people are surprised that restaurants and chalets are offering good craft beer, but next year, they’ll be expecting it.
Is it possible to convince the French that beer is as good as wine?
Its been hard to begin with, we’re pretty much cold calling, with a new product, so that’s sometimes hard work. But the returning orders are proof that it is really worth stocking, and the French realise that. It’s also hugely satisfying when my shoddy French manages to get us a sale! We’ve got a 12-month shelf life on the beer which is great as it means there really is no excuse not to have a case or two in the fridge.
Some French owned businesses aren’t convinced that the French, as well as the Brits, will enjoy Alepine. But that’s just not true anymore, it’s not just for English abroad. I find 95% of the French population are obsessed with good food and wine, so they appreciate good beer too and it’s great to open their taste buds a bit.
Fancy getting on your hands on some Alepine before those ESF instructors guzzle it all? What are you waiting for? Get in touch and we’ll fix you up with some hoppy goodness.