By Sophie Wyckoff
In 2016, after years of research and experimentation in his kitchen, Florent de Oliveira took the plunge and started Brasserie Artisanale Arlésienne (BAA), which now produces one of the most popular craft beers sold in Arles.
De Oliveira is originally from Doubs, France, where he began a petrochemical engineering career, but he wanted to get involved in a profession that combined his passions – craftsmanship, nature and of course, good beer.
He launched his microbrewery in Saint Martin de Crau, 15 miles southeast of Arles. BAA is brewed with water extracted directly from under the brewery in the Crau Plain.
Elefante Remi, whose main job is to brew and prepare the beer for transportation, is the only other employee in the company.
Remi and De Oliveira’s workdays commence around 8 a.m. and end at approximately 6 p.m. From straight malt to bottling and ready for shipment, it takes around 8 to 10 hours for the entire process to occur.
Once the brewing procedure is complete, the two men put the kegs in a warm room in their warehouse, otherwise known as a chamber. The kegs are then sent to clients, including businesses and individuals, in Arles.
BAA has four types of beer: rice beer, hibiscus and its bestsellers, classic and brown beer.
“Our classic flavor is categorized as a blonde beer because the malt isn’t ground, which gives the beer a lighter color,” Remi explains, “while our brown beer has a chocolatey color because the malt has been ground.”
The malt, wheat, rice and barley BAA uses are locally grown. De Oliveira carefully handpicks the hops and barley, selecting only the perfect ones to make his brew. De Oliveira strove for organic production, and his entire range of ingredients is certified as Organic Agriculture (AB) and European Organic Agriculture (Eurofeuille).
Remi and De Oliveira said brewing the perfect mixture demands pure water, hops for the bitterness and conservation of their beer, and malted barley, which will provide sugar that the yeast will feed on during fermentation. This combination develops into a sweet malt mixture that is then put into fermentation vats. The BAA is bottled semi-manually by its two employees and sent in cardboard boxes for shipment.
Brasserie Artisanale Arlésienne is the most popular beer sold in town. When asked why or how his beer was so popular among the Arlesian people, De Oliveira responded jokingly, “Well, that’s easy; it is made with love.”
De Oliveira pours his heart and soul into his company, making “this beer special in Arles because it is easier to drink and taste than most. I am my first customer, so why wouldn’t I want to enjoy the beer I make? This allows the public to enjoy it too.”
BAA beers are now available in almost every grocery store, liquor store restaurant and bar and at local events in Arles.