Beer – the oldest alcoholic beverage and the third most popular beverage in the world after water and tea. Filipinos consume a lot of beer, in fact we are considered to be the world’s third heaviest beer drinkers¹.
Beer production in the Philippines is mainly done by two big companies – San Miguel Corporation and Asia brewery. These are the beers that are readily available everywhere in the Philippines and the ones that are widely consumed in the country.
But there also exists a third player in beer production: the microbreweries. These microbreweries create their own artisanal beers with their own special signature taste and flavors.
We’ve chosen to focus on a very special brewery found in our very own city of Bacolod: The amazing Illusion Brewery – run by a trio of friends who have chosen to turn their dreams into reality.
Illusion brewery was established in 2014 by Ignacio “Jiggs” Santiago, J.M. Padilla and Paolo Sanson.
Jiggs had a job that involved a lot of international travelling. He would always take the opportunity to visit pubs and taste locally brewed beer. Eventually Jiggs thought to himself, “ I can do this too!” So despite a lot of initial opposition from friends and family, Jiggs quit his job to pursue his dream of brewing beer. He bought a lot of books, dvds, practically everything he could get his hands on that was about beer brewing.
Jiggs brought his friends and schoolmates into the picture as partners and developers. J.M Padilla and Paolo Sanson are Jiggs’ childhood friends and schoolmates from the University of Saint La Salle.
Since they were starting out, they didn’t have a lot of equipment ready. They initially began brewing their beer inside Jiggs’ kitchen using an old metal pot and ordinary kitchen tools and equipment. Eventually they were able to renovate and repurpose an old bihon factory into their main production area and their main base of operations.
The interior of illusion brewery is decorated with posters of magicians which reflects the interests of Jiggs who is very interested in magic as a hobby. Jiggs hopes to renovate the surrounding area and make it into a beer tasting venue and a tourist attraction!
The interior of Illusion brewery. It’s quiet now but it gets very busy during production time! During that time Jiggs and J.M. handle the plant operations while Paolo handles sales and distribution. J.M is particularly good at tasting – he ensures that the beer flavor remains consistent throughout production. Paolo is the business-minded individual who has a wide experience in running operations and balancing expenses and costs.
We tried a couple of their beers – they’re really good! They’re made with imported malt and ingredients and brewed in special containers shipped all the way from Poland. These beers are really special because they’re brewed locally, taste like international beers and I think that they are even quite superior to the San Mig and Asian brewery beers. These are beers for the discriminating adult. People who appreciate beers will love these local craft beers for their flavor and their reasonable price.
The most delicious and the specialty of Illusion Brewery is the Cream of Smiles Cream Ale. It’s a lighter tasting beer but with a fuller flavor.
Their Pale ale is good too! There’s a nice clear flavor to it – not too strong or harsh which I find very pleasing.
You can try out Illusion brewery’s amazing products at Terrasse, Gorka, Crate and Pendy’s Bacolod. You can also get in touch with them via their Facebook page
Illusion Brewery: Contact number 09437446199, Email address: firstname.lastname@example.org