Spanish Company Awarded for 'Olive Beer'

Adding Empeltre olive extract during fermentation endows OliBa with the flavors, aromas and colors of the endemic Spanish variety, the company said.
Ivan Caellas Colomés
By Daniel Dawson
Nov. 28, 2022 13:49 UTC

A beer made with Empeltre olive extract in Bajo Aragón, Spain, has been awarded at the SIAL Paris 2022 Awards as the most inno­v­a­tive alco­holic bev­er­age.

OliBa Green Beer was lauded by the panel of judges for its cre­ativ­ity, antic­i­pa­tion of mar­ket trends and orig­i­nal­ity.

According to Fortune Business Insights, a research firm, the global craft beer mar­ket is pre­dicted to grow from $103 bil­lion in 2021 to $211 bil­lion in 2028, with many com­pa­nies adding new ingre­di­ents to the four stal­warts of tra­di­tional beer brew­ing.

Ivan Caellas Colomés, OliBa Green Beer’s chief exec­u­tive, told Olive Oil Times that the inspi­ra­tion for the beer came dur­ing an olive oil tast­ing he was host­ing at his com­pa­ny’s estate perched on the foot of the Pyrenees Mountains in north­east­ern Spain.

See Also:In Italy, a New Beer Made from Olive Leaves

The idea came to me dur­ing an oil-tast­ing ses­sion with some clients,” he said. I make green oils with green olives, and I wanted to emu­late the color of the oil in the beer.”

While he had no brew­ing expe­ri­ence before this, Caellas thought that brew­ing a craft beer with olives would be an excel­lent chance to show­case the region’s unique cul­ti­vars.

He said that adding the olive extract infused the fla­vors, aro­mas and col­ors of the olives into the beer, yield­ing a unique fla­vor pro­file.

Normally, the beer brew­ing process begins with malt­ing, when ripe grains are soaked in water daily. After a few days, they are moved to a sep­a­rate tank to aer­ate, allow­ing for the pro­duc­tion of the nec­es­sary enzymes for fer­men­ta­tion.


(Photo: Ivan Caellas Colomés)

After aer­at­ing, grains are roasted, cre­at­ing malt. The length and tem­per­a­ture involved in this phase deter­mine the beer’s color and taste.

Once the malt is roasted, the next step is to add water, which yields mash. The mash is heated to a near-boil before being cooled and fil­tered, becom­ing wart. During the heat­ing process, hops are added to the wart.

The final phase of beer pro­duc­tion is fer­men­ta­tion, when the wart becomes alco­holic as added yeast trans­forms sugar into ethanol.

The olive extract is added at the end of the fer­men­ta­tion of the beer because, in this way, it is bet­ter infused with the taste and aroma of the extract,” Caellas said.

After fer­men­ta­tion, which takes about 10 days, the beer is placed in bar­rels and sent to sit for another 10 days before it is ready to drink.

Caellas said his Empeltre beer is the sec­ond in his line of green olive beers.

In the Original One ver­sion, I decided to pre­pare the extract with my native olives from the pre-Pyrenees of the Pallars Jussà region,” he said. In the next ver­sion, the Empeltre One, we col­lab­o­rated with some pro­duc­ers from the region of Aragón using the autochtho­nous vari­ety.”

Given the suc­cess of his first two, Caellas is already plan­ning a third, alco­hol-free olive beer.

Caellas added that he orig­i­nally entered the SIAL Paris Awards after receiv­ing sev­eral other awards at food com­pe­ti­tions. He wanted to see how OliBa would fare at the world’s largest food and bev­er­age show.

We are very happy and proud of the work done by the OliBa Green Beer team,” he said about win­ning the inno­va­tion award. For us, SIAL is a global show­case and win­ning the award helped us attract the atten­tion of many dis­trib­u­tors and agents.”

Indeed, he said the event is a great moment for net­work­ing. At the side­lines of the award cer­e­mony in Paris, Caellas met with ven­dors inter­ested in sell­ing his beer in Belgium, Israel and Kazakhstan.

We had many meet­ings with dis­trib­u­tors inter­ested in mar­ket­ing our beer from many coun­tries,” he said. We made many con­tacts and closed many agree­ments that will help increase sales expo­nen­tially.”

This award moti­vates us to con­tinue doing what we like: exper­i­ment­ing and com­mit­ting our­selves to the dis­tinc­tive value of our beer,” Caellas con­cluded.


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