The Palaweño Brewery that produces Palawan’s Ayahay craft beer is now expanding its market to Metro Manila and major cities in the Visayas, such as Iloilo, Bacolod, and Cebu.
Palawan’s Ayahay is the first and only craft beer brewery in Palawan owned by Ayah Javier and Malu Lauengco.
Dave Javier, the owner’s nephew, said that aside from their markets in Coron, El Nido, and Puerto Princesa, they now have distributors in other big cities and tourist-frequented sites in the country, and is eyeing Boracay as their next prospective market.
He said that their plant has the capacity to produce a total of 240 bottles daily.
“We can produce 120 bottles per brew at nagdadalawang luto kami, so we have 240 bottles a day,” Javier said. The price of beer ranges from 150 to 170 pesos per bottle.
They have five regular beer brands that are available all-year round, namely Ambog Ale, Palawan Wit, Palaw’an, Ayahay Ipa, and Hunter.
Ambog Ale is an American Amber Ale, a mixture of brisk hop flavor and golden copper color. It has citrus and orange, according to him.
Palawan Wit is a Belgian Wheat Beer also known as the “The Last Frontier’s First Craft Beer.”
He explained that this is very pale and cloudy in appearance due to its high level of wheat and oats. The crispness and slight twang come from wheat and the lively level of carbonation.
Palaw’an, another regular beer of Ayahay craft beer is called “The Tribal Beer.” It is an old but popular German-style beer with their equally famous honey from Palaw’an tribe.
It has a muted color, light body and smooth mouthful with a subtle floral character beer, which he described as “very light and very refreshing.”
Ayahay Ipa, on the other hand, is an Indian Pale Ale that boasts of intense single-hop flavor and aroma.
“Although medyo mapait, pero hindi s’ya ganun kapait, kasi meron pa rin syang refreshing taste,” he said.
Another type of its regular beer is Hunter, known also as Honey Nut Brown Ale, which is styled after the Southern English brown ale. This brew incorporates Palawan honey, adding floral hints to its caramelize and chocolatey flavor. It is a well-balanced, intensely drinkable beer.
He said that they have a special brew for the month like the one they call “Nognog.” It is a Belgian golden strong ale beer and has tangoli-a palm tree sugar sourced from Cuyo.
While raw materials such as barney, wheat and hops are all imported, water and other raw materials include honey from Palawan tribe, and other fruits are sourced locally.
The province’s natural water tastes good and it makes their beer have a distinctive taste.
“Iba ang lasa ng tubig sa ibang lugar at iba ang tubig ng Palawan, kahit ibigay namin ang recipe sa iba ay hindi pa rin nila makukuha ang lasa, kasi iba ang tubig dito sa atin,” he added.
“The process is more of pakulo ng tubig, kaya safe ang ating tubig, tsaka hahaloan siya ng barley,” Javier explained.
They get the name from the term “hayahay,” which means comfort, easiness and convenience. Like “ayahay-buhay” or comfortable life, he quipped.
Choosing the Ayahay craft beer other than local beer brands will cost you less, says Javier.
“Medyo nakakatipid, kasi tatlong bote ng other local beer ang katumbas nya, though ang tama nya is relaxing. Ang effect ng beer ay nakaka-relax at walang hangover,” he said.
He told Palawan News that his aunt, who used to live in San Diego, California in the United States, coined the idea of bringing the craft beer in Palawan.
“Nag-boom kasi ang craft beer sa America, so she decided na uuwi ng Palawan at mag-start mag-brew hanggang ngayong lumaki na kami,” he said.
The Filipinos’ love for drinking beer is what inspired his aunt to create Palawan’s only craft beer in 2012.
Javier admitted that they started producing the beer using a sample brewer kit only. “Hindi naman masyado malaki kasi nagsimula kami dito na kalde-kaldero lang,” he narrated.
He said that from a small brewing plant, they have expanded their building to accommodate more equipment, and so that it would have a much wider space.
Their new brewing system was acquired from the United States, but it is not operating yet. He said it is a bigger one that will enable them to produce four times the number of their current operation capacity.