Local brewery offers new craft beer flavors


Saipan Brewing Co. brew master Steve Sablan, right, and Jay Wolf hold two growlers that they will be using in selling 10 of the flavors that the new local beer company developed. (Jon Perez)

Saipan Brewing Co., a locally owned brewery, is trying to introduce to CNMI beer drinkers locally made craft beers with local fruits—like mangoes and pineapples—as ingredients. Steve Sablan is the brew master of the young company.

And joining the Liberation Day Carnival is part of their strategy to introduce their product to local consumers. They are set to officially kick things off to high gear with a launch party on Aug. 27 at Naked Fish Bar & Grill in Susupe.

Tickets for the launch party are available at SBC’s Liberation Day booth, on the international crowdfunding website indiegogo.com and at Naked Fish before the start of the event.

So far, there’s been a positive response from the community—especially with the variety of flavors beer lovers could choose from—an indication that the CNMI is ready to embrace the craft beer industry.

“We want to introduce new types of beers. The beer drinkers’ tastes are changing. Even in the mainland, there are a lot of independent breweries serving craft beers,” said Sablan, who develops the products.

He’s the one who does the research, testing, and tasting of the various beer flavors at their brewery in Navy Hill before it gets out to the marker.

SBC is one of two beer concessionaires that joined the Beer Garden in the Liberation Day Carnival, but is the lone participant that produces their own fresh brew on the island.

Sablan learned how to brew after receiving a beer making kit as a gift from his wife while they were still living in California.

The kit just sat idly in their home for six months and he saw it again while cleaning and that’s when he decided to give it a try. And the rest, as the old cliché goes, is history.

“I got hooked after that and that’s where my passion about brewing craft beers started. That’s why when I returned to Saipan, I wanted to introduce craft beers made from local products. A new beer that’s unique on Saipan and freshly made.” said Sablan.

He is the brains in concocting the various flavors and types of beers and said that he’s been using local ingredients like coconut, mango, and pineapple. “I want to use local products especially the fruits that can be found on the island.”

Coconut dark brown, mango pale, and pineapple ale are some of Sablan’s latest brews, but he also plans to test using apples, bananas, and oranges with the hopes of introducing local craft beers to the local beer market.

They also have hard cream soda for “grown ups” that has 7.3 percent alcohol by volume content. It uses special grains to create the feel and taste of a cream soda, while the pineapple pale is ale aged with pineapples for a sweet finish and delicious aroma. Snakebites are cider and beer mix.

They also plan to sell their draft beers to local bars and restaurants with Naked Fish as one of the first on island to offer the local brew starting at SBC’s launch party on Aug. 27, with beer-inspired food to be offered on the menu. Raffles and other giveaways await guests.

Aside from promoting the company through social media, Facebook, they also seek assistance from generous people to help their business get off the ground through indiegogo.com.

Another one of their promos is selling Beer For Life tickets at $1,000 each, where you get as much beer you can drink every month. There’s also BFL tickets at $100 each where you get one beer every month.

Sablan is encouraging everyone to support local businesses especially small business owners. “There’s lot of interest on our products that’s why aside from selling kegs, we will also offer our fresh beer in growlers. We already have a logo for our products.”

Growlers are dark brown-colored jugs similar to those used by moonshiners.

“We’re going to concentrate in selling our beers first in the CNMI. If plans push through we would like to have a new bar or restaurant offer our beers every week. We will try our best to meet the demand,” said Sablan.

Jon Perez | Reporter
Jon Perez began his writing career as a sports reporter in the Philippines where he has covered local and international events. He became a news writer when he joined media network ABS-CBN. He joined the weekly DAWN, University of the East’s student newspaper, while in college.

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