Lately, our crafty side has been unleashed during the pandemic. Many people decided to start baking bread, or to ferment vegetables, or anything adventurous enough at their own kitchen. When it comes to do-it-yourself food trends, Finns has always shown a very crafty side, especially regarding beverages.
Sahti, a traditional farmhouse ale, and one of the oldest beer styles, is still brewed at home all around Finland. Made with malted and unmalted grains like barley, juniper branches and berries, this domestic beer is still today a popular knowledge passed through generations. The result is a turbid and ambar sweet ale to drink amongst friends and family. The tradition of making sahti is still alive, and Mika Laitinen from Brewing Nordic says that "the tradition is vital and respected, but new generations need to be encouraged to keep on their family's traditions. In its most authentic form, sahti is learned by word of mouth, by following and assisting an experienced brewer."
These times of uncertainty led many people to try new things, and fermentation is at the top of the list. Brewing their own beer is today one of the top activities between Millennials, pushed by the growth of the market of the craft breweries around the world. "Surely craft brewing has inspired people to brew at home, but perhaps the craft beer boom has followed the popularity of homebrewing: more homebrewers mean more brewers who want to turn their hobby into a profession," says Mika Laitinen.
But if you are amidst the newcomers to this world, don't need to worry. The starter kits are made for you, with materials and ingredients to make your own beer and wine. Janne Kettula from Viinitalo/Kotiviini, a wholesaler of products for homemaking of beverages, says "people who otherwise would be unsure of how to proceed can easily buy one of these kits and be on their way to homemaking. And the end results when using these kits are remarkably good."
It is essential to say that even though homebrewing is legal and common, it's not a practice to push the increase of intake of alcoholic beverages, but the opposite. People who make their own concoctions and experiments at home tend to be more discerning about their drinking. "There has always been a small group of people who take their beer and wine very seriously and are indeed using elaborate methods and advanced equipment in their homemaking. They are of tremendous help in building a healthier and more diverse beer culture in Finland, where alcohol has been stigmatized for all too long," adds Janne Kettula.
But not just beverages have their market and supporters. What about growing your own mushroom? Sounds amazing. What if you could use the leftovers of your everyday coffee brewing? Even better. Helsieni is a startup from Helsinki which loves oyster mushrooms, circular economy, sustainability, and of course, coffee - as every Finn. Chris Holtslag, the co-founder of the company, believes that the reuse of brewed coffee is something that helps to captivate new customers: "It is a concept that stimulates people to view their available resources in a new light, and that you can produce mushrooms with a lot of different things."
If you want to go further, online shops are full of kits' options to do your own delicacy at home, like curing bacon, kebab and cheese making, hot sauce creation, and more. Or you can also go natural (but not much) with high tech hydroponic salads and herbs, fully automated to receive sunlight and water. But it's much better to do local and buy your ingredients and equipment from stores nearby, and even find friends with the same DIY interest. It seems cool, right? So go adventurous, learn a new craft to impress.
Photo: Helsieni / Brewing Nordic