25 years of business is in our fast moving world a long time. And due to this anniversary the Nokian Panimo opened its doors for one day only for guided tours and beer tasting. As I moved to Finland recently this was a good opportunity to start checking out the local brewing scene. So, on a nearly sunny day in September we went to Nokia. Yes, this is a city also, not just a mobile phone brand.
Waiting at the gates together with an employee of the brewery, my wife introduced me as a “panimomestari” from Germany which is the finnish equivalent for Master Brewer. Actually the title isn’t quite correct as I’m a Diploma Master Brewer (“Diplombraumaister”), but everyone got the idea. To my surprise the employee immediately switched to speaking flawless German, and upon asking how come he knew the language so well, he simply stated that the language of the brewing world simply is German.
The tour started with the basics of brewing. The brew master told us a lot about the brewing process. I was listening only with one ear as I had a personal conversation with the employee who talked German with me. Later on I found out that he was Matti Heikkilä, the CEO of Nokian Panimo.
The actual point what I really wanted to know was this: back in 2005 I came to Finland to visit the girl who is now my wife. I had recently gotten my degree in Brewing Technology and so I always was eager for new beers and brands. I soon found the Nokian Panimo brand and that's when the curiosity started. On the backside of a bottle the signature of my Brewing Technology professor Prof. Karl Wackerbauer was printed. I took one bottle back with me to Germany and showed them to one of the doctorates. But none of them had a clue how and why the signature of Prof. Wackerbauer was on the label.
When we stood in front of a cabinet of former produced beers (or only their bottles actually) I asked Mr Heikkilä about the signature. He told me that back in time the former brew master was indeed a VLB fellow. But he didn’t know any details about the signature. He stated that the brew master still lives in the near of Nokia.
At the end of the tour we crossed the canning plant and went to the small test brewery. They had some delicious one-shot beers on the tap. And I have to say, the stout I had was better than what I drank in Ireland. No offense guys but the folks in Nokian panimo know their business very well.