Balashi Brewery is Aruba’s first and only high-tech brewery, producing Aruba’s beloved national beer, Balashi Pilsner, since 1999. The local beer, uniquely brewed with Aruba’s pristine desalinated water, malt imported from Holland, and hops from Germany, quickly became the beer of choice for locals over the next two decades.
There is always room for improvement, and in 2018, brew master Eduardo Fernow was brought on to lead the local brewery team to tweak brewery operations, improve overall quality of products, and create new beers for the Balashi portfolio.
Eduardo brings a wealth of knowledge that he began accumulating decades ago as a teenager in his home country of Venezuela. At the age of 17, he completed basic school and was awaiting his university enrollment in the faculty of medicine. Eduardo’s German father—opposed to idle hands and insisting everyone living in the home contributes—helped secure a temporary job through a friend that was one of the brew masters at Cervecería Polar.
Eduardo worked as an apprentice in the brewery’s lab and was instantly enthralled with the brewing process. His constant thirst for knowledge was not overlooked, with the brewery offering Eduardo a scholarship to study at University of Munich’s prestigious brew master academic institute, Weihenstephan, the site of one of the world’s oldest breweries, located in Freising, Bavaria and established in 1010 AD. Eduardo’s apprenticeship at the brewery would set the foundation for a lifetime occupation.
Eduardo studied three years of theoretical classes and two years of practical experience. After completing his studies, he was offered a position as one of 30 brew masters for Polar. For the next 45 years, the brew master would hone his craft at this brewery—once ranked 17th in the world and producing some 18 million hectoliters of beer a year. The brew master also worked with a local university to set up a brew master program for local students to have access to formal training.
With the socio-political unrest in modern-day Venezuela, Eduardo decided it was time to leave Venezuela and take his time-earned knowledge and experience to another brewery. Eduardo connected with a brewery consultant firm in Germany and was presented with two opportunities: a brew master was needed at a brewery in Cameroon, and another for a brewery on the island of Aruba. It was no contest—Aruba it was!
Over the past three and a half years, Eduardo has worked on perfecting the brewing process of both Balashi and Chill beers, while also overseeing the introduction of the Magic profile of fruit-driven beers. For Eduardo, there is nothing more rewarding than to be where he is in his career now and is thankful to Balashi Brewery for this opportunity. “I am happy to be able to use my years of knowledge to develop great beers…and living on Aruba—it’s like a holiday on the beach!”
*Watch for next month’s blog, where we learn more about Balashi Brewery’s improvement to the freshness of the original Balashi Pilsner and the growth and expansion of the brewery that is currently underway.