Stanford Shaw’s Fresh, Home-Brewed Ginger Beer Is Just What You Need for the SummerMay 13, 2017
Brothers Marc and Johann See first started experimenting with ginger beer in 2011 when they found a traditional recipe for it in an old cookbook of their mother’s (“about 30 years old,” says Marc, though the original recipe from the UK that was printed in the book is over a century old). Already both interested in ‘alternative’ beverages, they were drawn to the ginger beer recipe for its locally grown star ingredient (ginger, of course) and its ability to become bubbly without the need for special equipment. For a year, they played around with ginger beer recipe, serving their concoctions to family and friends, until they finally found a brewing process that made them realize its market potential. The brand was officially launched in October 2013, and like many Manila-based home food businesses with a love for the artisanal and locally-sourced, it began in the Legazpi Sunday Market.
Don’t be misled by the amber bottles and the word ‘beer’ in the product name—ginger beer is just another term for ginger ale, and is perfectly safe for children as it isn’t an alcoholic beverage. They store the ginger beer in amber bottles to protect the drink from UV rays, as their fresh ginger-based drink continues to ferment, and exposure to the sun will only speed up the process. And yes, because of fermentation, there is a minute amount of alcohol but hardly enough to feel or taste (“One percent after a week of fermentation, so before that practically zero,” clarifies Johann).
This is probably the freshest soda on the market,” proclaims Johann, proudly. They brew it fresh every single week and recommend that you aren’t going to drink it right away, store it in the fridge immediately and consume within 2 weeks. This is because, unlike ginger beers commercially available on the market which have ceased fermentation, the See brothers have found Stanford Shaw’s best flavor is brought out if they allow it to continue to ferment in the bottle. This also means that when you buy a fresh bottle and keep it, the flavor will change character over the 2 weeks you have it in your fridge. Drink it sooner for a subtler ginger taste and a sweeter drink, or later to allow the ginger flavor to blossom and the sweetness to die down. Because ginger beer is brewed with a fermentation process, Marc tells us, “the flavor is really different from the forced carbonated, longer shelf-life bottle soda.”
Perhaps their most memorable and validating moment as ginger beer brewers in a country that is unfamiliar with the drink is when an Australian man first tried their brew at a market and was immediately blown away by the recipe. It was just like his grandmother used to make them back in the 50’s, he told them, and he thanked them for the unexpected taste-trip down memory lane.
The two enjoy the challenges that running their own business, which has been growing at such a speed that they have both decided to focus on the brand full-time. “It’s something you can wake up at 6AM for,” Marc says. “A simple, honest business,” continues Johann, and one that they find extremely fulfilling. Despite the hectic schedules they maintain to brew the drinks themselves and run daily operations, they still take the time out to pause and enjoy their fruits of their labor: a freezer-cold bottle of their ginger beer. Marc laughs as he explains his brother’s specific preference for enjoying their product: place the bottle in the freezer for 30-45 minutes (but time it because if it’s in there too long, the liquid will freeze up and the glass may break!) and the drink will become slushie-like and thick—perfect for a hot summer’s day.
Watch out next for Stanford Shaw’s latest product currently in development: traditionally brewed root beer. We’re already prepping our tastebuds and crossing our fingers for a summer release.
You can find Stanford Shaw still at the Legazpi Sunday Market, as well as the Salcedo Saturday Market, the San Juan Sabado Mercado, and the Greenhills Sunday Market. They are also partnered up with select restaurants around the city including Purple Yam and Mr. Delicious.
Stanford Shaw Brewing Co. creates a home-brewed, fresh ginger beer following traditional UK brewing methods using local ginger and US lemons.