The Global Aspirations With a Local Focus Fentie Sets for Omnipollo

This is a part of a continuing series of Q&As with members of the brewing community from across the US.
Brewer Magazine will share business and personal insights from Brewmasters, Head Brewers, Brewing Managers, Sales Directors, QCQA Managers and others each weekend to help you get to know each other better in the industry and learn more to better develop your own brand.

Henok Fentie, CEO, Omnipollo — Stockholm, Sweden

BREWER: What can you tell me about the history of your brewery? How has your business strategy evolved to help grow and stay competitive? 
FENTIE: Omnipollo started as a hobby project back in 2009. I spent a year in Belgium, home brewing and harassing professional brewers. In 2010 I met graphic wonder child Karl Grandin and we released our first beer, Levon. A champagne yeast Belgian Pale Ale dry-hopped with Amarillo and Simcoe hops. Still our biggest beer by volume. The strategy was and still is to make and sell the tastiest and most interesting beers out there. Help beer become pop-culture. A recent operational shift is that we have gone from contract brewing 100% of our beers to brewing a substantial amount at our own production facility. An old church in Stockholm, Sweden.  That said, we very much see ourselves as a contract brewery and a purveyor of ideas rather than an assembler of hops, yeast, malt, and water. As such we work with partner breweries as close to the consumer as we can. Example: every drop of Omnipollo beer sold in Canada is brewed in Canada. In a way I guess you could call it a global aspiration with a local focus. 

BREWER: What are the popular beers at your brewery, and how do they compare to the popular styles in your country?
FENTIE: We brew everything from packed Stouts to Pilsners. We love beer and everything about beer.  If I had to say one thing that sticks out a little from what’s available locally, I would say our high intensity beers such as our Noa Pecan Mud Cake Stout and Bianca Blueberry Maple Pancake Lassi Gose. 

BREWER: Who is your mentor in the industry and why? What have you learned from them?
FENTIE: Dirk Naudts (De Proef), Menno Olivier (De Molen), Alan Sprints (Hair of The Dog). Beyond the million small things I’ve learned watching them work, they’ve shown me to always be curious and humble. 

BREWER: How has the definition of growth for your company evolved and how have you adjusted to be successful in that new definition?
FENTIE: As a producer, running our own brewery, our focus right now is on reaching capacity. That’s a new scenario for us as we’ve previously just brewed to whatever capacity was available at our partner breweries.   We are growing into space and will hopefully reach capacity next year. 

BREWER: What idea did you or your team come up with lately that has been a big benefit to how your brewery functions?
FENTIE: Brew with local ingredients. More environmentally friendly, cheaper and just as tasty if not tastier. 

BREWER: If you had one business strategy that you could implement to better the brewing industry in your country, what would it be?
FENTIE: Get beer out to customers faster for maximum freshness. 

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