When I meet Natasha Frost-Savio and Roberto Savio Beer at Stars’n’Bars to talk about their new company, Blue Coast Brewing Company, the largest craft brewery in the region, they nonchalantly rhymed off a few investors – F1’s Jenson Button, F1’s Daniel Ricciardo and TV presenter Karen Minier-Coulthard – and then a few Ambassadors, or BlueCoasters as they refer to them, American actor Noah Wyle (ER, Falling Skies) and Sky Sport presenter Natalie Pinkham.
By this point I forget we’re talking about beer.
Sure, the official opening of the Blue Coast Brewing Company tap room in Nice is this Saturday, November 4, but with all this hype how can the artisanal beer not be a huge success?
“Well we have to have a tasty beer to stand behind,” Roberto told me. “And we have three.”
The Blonde Ale, IPA and the Session Ale were designed by Nice-based Swede, Robert Bush, who won gold at the Swedish National Championships in Home Brewing in Stockholm, and in 1996 he took the “Home Brewer of the Year” title with an English style bitter.
“We interviewed 18 brewers to come up with what we hope to be one of the best beers in France,” said Natasha. “And Robert knows his hops like a nez knows perfume.”
The idea for Blue Coast came to the Monaco-based couple two years ago, as the craft beer market is booming in other countries. In the US, for example, according to the Brewers Association, the American craft beer market was valued last year at €20.23 billion ($23.5 billion) – which represents 21 percent of the market share – and the number of active craft breweries tripled in a decade, from 1,409 breweries in 2006 to 5,234. In other words, 2.3 new breweries opened every day in the US in 2015.
In the UK, about 10 microbreweries opened a week in 2016 and in total the craft industry represents 9 percent of beer sold in licensed premises.
France counts around a thousand artisanal breweries, and locally a dozen, including Allez-Hops! in Nice launched last year by American Daniel Deganutti and his French wife Julie.
“Craft beer is a tradition and a philosophy,” Roberto, an Italian-Swede explained.
Natasha, who is American but grew up in Beaulieu-sur-Mer, added, “All the local craft brewers, we all help each other, and even if we are the biggest, it’s about community.”
Blue Coast Brewing Company will be the largest brewery by a long shot, with a production target of 600,000 litres in 2018 and 1.1 million litres in 2019.
In addition to the million residents living in Monaco and the 06 department, the husband and wife business duo hope to tap into the 12 million tourists who visit the French Riviera every year. They are already in the process of designing a limited-edition 2018 Monaco Grand Prix beer.
The state-of-the-art brewery on Chemin de Saquier, in the Nice Eco Valley near Allianz Riviera stadium, will be open from noon to 7 pm every Saturday from November 4. This weekend 5TH Avenue Hot Dogs will serve American franks for the inauguration, but Natasha and Roberto plan to host a variety of food trucks across the year.
And with an extensive list of Ambassadors– cycling champion Thor Hushovd; Andreas Mikkelsen, winner of the WRC2 2017 Monte Carlo rally; pro cyclist Tiffany Cromwell; superbike driver Eugen Laverty; French karting champion Nicola Duchateau; and Monaco’s eco-legends Kate and Didier, owners of Stars’n’Bars, where you’ll also find the beer on tap – you never know who you could end up sharing a pint with at Blue Coast Brewing.
There’s plenty of free parking at Blue Coast Brewing, 18 Chemin de Saquier in Nice. Look for Decathlon St Isidore and then turn right on Camin de la Blea after Keria Luminaires et Laurie Lumière. This turns into Chemin de Saquier. Article first published November 1, 2017.