[잡썰⑥]Obi Beer Kim Jong-ho Chief Brewmaster
“What do you do as a senior brewmaster? We start with a sensory test at 11am every day.”
When asked about his daily routine with Kim Jong-ho (54), a brewery engineer who manages the entire beer manufacturing process, Obi Beer’s chief Brewmaster, he came up with a strange sensory test from his name.
Senior Brewmaster Kim laughed and replied, “It’s not that sensuality, but it’s not about using the five senses to check the quality of the product.” It is a misunderstanding that the word sensuality (官能) has many meanings.
My job is to keep the beer taste uniform 365 days a year
He explained, “Every day, starting with the raw materials of beer, water, malt, subsidiary materials, yeast, etc., and the taste, color, and condition of the beer, we start the day.” This is because the chief brewmaster’s most important task is to ensure that the taste of the beer made yesterday and the beer made today are not different.
Since my job is a brewing technician, I thought that making various kinds of beer was my main job, but it was a surprising answer. “We develop new products, but our first task is to consistently maintain the unique taste and aroma of the various beers of Obi.” For example, due to climate change, the condition of barley, the raw material of beer, is different every year.
“Some years Australia is good, and Canada is the best the following year. We put barley and malt samples from all over the world to find and blend them optimally.” The only beers he manages include Cass, Obi, Hanmac, and Capri, as well as Hogarden and Stella Artoua, which are domestically produced by InBev, Ahnheiser-Bush (AB), the parent company of Obi Beer. AB InBev acquired OB Beer in 2014.
As a brewmaster, your taste and smell are absolutely important because you have to catch the slightest changes in the taste of beer. He laughed, saying, “I don’t put strong scented whiskey, soju, and wine in my mouth.” Obi Beer has three production plants in Korea: Cheongju, Icheon and Gwangju. He stays at each plant every 1-2 weeks and manages the entire manufacturing process. I became a Brewmaster in 2006, so 15 years have passed since this year.
27 years in charge of taste and quality of cass
Among the beers he manages,’Kas’ is the one he loves the most. This is because of the first relationship he made when he joined the Cass development team in 1994, the second year after joining Jinro Coors, one of the predecessors of Obi Beer in 1992. Cass is the representative filial piety product of Obi Beer. Obi Beer contributed to overtaking competitors in 2012, and has remained unchanged in the domestic beer market share for 10 years since. As of the end of last year, Cass’ market share was 40%.
“After being born in 1994, 27 years have passed until the’All New Cass’ renewal last month. My only daughter is 25 years old this year, and Cass is like another child of mine.”
Since the chief brewmaster Kim has been in charge of taste and quality for 27 years, starting from the launch of Cass, it is likely that the word’like a child’ might come out. He was originally appointed as the AD (Associate Director) of AB InBev Asia Pacific Innovation Center at the end of 2019. It is responsible for managing the taste of all AB InBev beer products produced in the Asia Pacific region. However, a novel coronavirus infection (Corona 19) sank Kim’s chief brewmaster in South Korea. This is because the Asia-Pacific Innovation Center was unable to go to the wind in Wuhan, China, the source of Corona 19.
“As I stayed in Korea, I naturally became involved in the renewal of’All New Cass’ last year. I thought it was a tough relationship,” he laughed.
How did the taste of All New Cass change? “We have upgraded a few elements while maintaining the refreshing and tangy character of Cass,” he said. It was changed to the best refined hops, and it was aged at a low temperature of 0°C for 72 hours to add a clean and fresh taste. To emphasize this image, the brown bottle was also replaced with a transparent bottle.
To drink the most delicious beer…
We asked how to best drink beer. “When the beer is deliciously cooked, it has a banana or apple or floral scent on the tip of the nose. 3-6 degrees Celsius is the temperature at which beer can be enjoyed the most. I applied a temperature sensor to the All New Cass label, and it turns bright blue and a white snowflake shape appears. You can eat it then.” He also added, “It is better not to shake the beer as much as possible because carbonated acid can fly away.”
He has been at Obi Beer for the past 30 years, and has only tasted hundreds of beers. Except for Obi Beer, I asked where the beer was the most delicious. “I think Kas is the best lager beer in the world. That’s why we are proud of our products.” Until the end of the interview, the affection for Cass was strong.
Lee Chun = Reporter Baek Minjeong email@example.com