Story: Ticino in ferment

Don't tilt your glass when pouring beer!

Local ingredients, like farina bona or water from Monte Generoso, a tradition with roots in the 19th century and with something that has always made the difference: passion. In Ticino the world of cra...

In some breweries the first thing that strikes you are the scents, like that of hops, and in others the music ‒ “Iron Maiden?” ‒ but, in all of them, you sense passion and friendliness. Yes, because the world of beer means, first and foremost, sharing and being together.


Giovanni Marsan, master brewer of the Birreria San Martino

Giovanni Marsan, master brewer of the Birreria San Martino
At 30 years of age, I did an internship in the beer industry. But I've always had a passion for beer.


Giovanni Marsan, you're the master brewer of San Martino di Stabio brewery, in Ticino, that produces about 120,000 litres of beer per year. Which beer characterises the territory better and why?

La Bella wheat comes from the mills in Maroggia and is enhanced with various Ticinese herbs. And then there is the water of the Mendrisio region, rich in calcium. That is certainly one of its characteristics: it adds a special note to our beer.

Special like your beers. You have two separate product lines: how do they differ?

We produce San Martino and Bad Attitude. San Martino takes its name from the place where it was created about 15 years ago, in Mendrisio. It is a line of softer, more classic drinks. Bad Attitude, instead, is a more aggressive and bitter range of American, English or Australian-style beers, with a greater amount of hops.

So, San Martino has strong links with the territory. Is Bad Attitude more international?

“All I can say is that the Bad Attitude labels portray Kurt Cobain, Hobo, a bum with class who represents the hipster style, and Dude from the Cohen brothers' film The Great Lebowski, two characters who speak for themselves.”

So, behind the beers there's history, philosophy, but also chemistry. Care is needed in all the production phases to maintain correct percentages and pH and to check dosing. Before becoming a brewmaster, you did various jobs, including working as a chemist.

“I worked as an educator for years and I also worked on a farm. At then, at 30 years of age, I did an internship in the beer industry.”

It all starts with the same ingredients: water, malt, hops, yeast... and passion!

Then chestnuts, elderberries, rice, bread, merlot, farina bona and coffee are added: the world of Ticino beers is ready to satisfy all tastes.

On the labels of Bad Attitude there are characters who speak for themselves.
Pro tip
Stout is a dark high fermentation beer produced with the addition of barley and caramel, to make the taste of this drink sweeter and softer.
The two largest beer producers in Ticino are the San Martino Brewery and the Officina della Birra. Their products are available in specialist shops, supermarkets and directly from the producer.
Enjoying a beer with friends is even better. Master Brewers' Festival, Birrathlon or Birra al Parco: don't miss the events dedicated to the blonde drink.

What was the first beer you produced?

“​I was about 20 years old and I was brewing beer at home for myself, an English-style bitter.”

“​I've also done many tasting courses for beer sommeliers and I learned an important lesson: the best one is the one I brew for myself.”

“There are 30 breweries in Ticino, which have grown by 30% in the last two years.”




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