The micro-brewery restaurant in Béziers will blow out its first candle on Thursday May 19.
The bet might seem daring, even crazy: a guy from the North who is going to open a brewery in the midst of the Covid-19 pandemic, in a land of wine culture. Fabien Aubert took it up brilliantly. On May 19, 2021, he opened his micro-brewery restaurant, 3 Brasseurs, on Avenue de la Voie Domitienne, in Beziers. And today, a year later, the manager is smiling.
“Yes, it was a challenge, a daring and somewhat crazy bet. But, looking back, I can say today that it was a moment in my life that deserved, and still deserves, to be experienced. “
Open May 19, 2021
Of course, the project was in the cards long before the pandemic. “We were supposed to open in 2020. But there was the first confinement, then the second. We decided to start on May 19, 2021 anyway.”
With special conditions: the team of 25 employees served on a terrace reduced by 50%. “A month later, we were able to open the interior, but with 50% of our reception capacity. Then in August, there was the health pass, with the distance from the tables to be respected, the health restrictions … In short, it was not an easy opening. But the whole team clung to it because it adhered to the project. And we got through this bad stage!”
And Fabien Aubert to add: “In addition, you should know that when it opened, communication was very limited because of the pandemic. As a result, I chose to work on word-of-mouth in order to make the 3 Brasseurs an establishment destination.”
Not to mention that the manager had to roll up his sleeves and take on the “d’aqui” accent because “to make the shop work, I had to learn the culture of the territory and feed myself from it. Which is not easy for someone from the North.”
He has also chosen to establish various partnerships “for example, with Agglo for waste management and communication. For the spent grain, that is to say malt waste, I work with Olivier Margé who collects the spent grain to feed his animals.”
And since March, with a health pass which is no longer compulsory in bars and restaurants, the clientele, from Biterroise and elsewhere, has been there. “We feel and we see that the people of Biterroi have finally regained a taste for restaurant outings.”
80% of the staff has been there since the opening
Fabien Aubert’s greatest pride, as he would like to point out, is that which concerns his employees: “We started with 27 employees, including me. Today, we are 25, in service, in the kitchen, in management, including the brewer Lucas. And, of these 25, 80% have been there since the start, this which is very rare in the hotel and catering industry. I recruited them all by Pôle emploi. I wanted local recruitment, which is not easy. But I was very well supported by the structure.”
Bet won for the manager who insures it: his company “is doing well“.
The brewery is in its 50th brew
Thanks to Lucas the brewer, 3 Brasseurs, a brand of which Fabien Aubert, the manager, is a franchise, offers a craft beer, brewed on site. “We are on our 50th brew”proudly announces the manager.
The establishment serves four beers – blonde, IPA, amber and red – and a fifth, the one of the month, ephemeral. This month, it’s Gozz, a tart white wine.
The beers are drawn directly on site and served to customers, accompanied, if they wish, by dishes, some of which are typically from the north, such as carbonade flamande or flammeküche.
The Ukrainian crisis is impacting brewers
An increase in the price of glass by 23% and 25% in that of cardboard in 2022. Inflation does not spare Biterrois brewers, who on the eve of the big sales season are trying to limit the economic damage caused by the war in Ukraine.
The sector, very dependent on so-called “dry” materials, such as glass or cardboard, is trying to adapt. For Sébastien Alary, manager of the Alaryk brewery, anticipation made it possible to limit the damage: “As of January, we knew. Initially, we made up for the difference with an increase in the prices of our products, but we did not cannot continue to increase them, our customers will no longer follow otherwise”.
A temporary solution, but necessary when added to this, the soaring prices of diesel, essential to the service of delivery of orders. An increase from which the Gorge frais, another famous brasserie in Béziers, is struggling to get out: “For months, we have been waiting for this restart, but I place my hopes in the coming season, I only hope for one thing, it is that people are there to go and consume”, confides Ludovic, one of the managers.
An enthusiasm that Sébastien Alary tends to qualify, despite an exceptional season in 2021: “Our market depends 80% on CHR (café, hotel, restaurant), impacted because it depends on the individual and export, whose first customer was Russia”.