Home » On the Ile d’Arz, a microbrewery brings new lands to life [Vidéo] – The companies of our islands

On the Ile d’Arz, a microbrewery brings new lands to life [Vidéo] – The companies of our islands

by archyw


Agriculture is taking root on the Isle of Arz. At the turn of the century, it almost disappeared. Thanks to the purchase of fifteen hectares by the town and the pugnacity of elected officials, a couple started organic dairy farming in 2011. Since then, Gaec has grown from two to four partners, bringing the landscapes back to life. Soon, the island will have six farmers with the arrival of a farmer-baker and Nanou Lafont’s project.

My work did not correspond to my ecological convictions, nor to my social convictions

The young woman, an agricultural engineer like her companion, says: “After his thesis, Thomas had to settle… but not on an island! “Arz also won over the Sarthoise. In 2018, Thomas therefore became a partner of Gaec when Nanou took the mail every day to work in an agri-food group. Until March 20, 2020. “The best timing to resign! », She quips. “My work did not correspond to my ecological convictions, nor to my social convictions. “In full confinement, she does nothing for her retraining. “So I took a seasonal job in a bar-restaurant on the island. “

The young Sarthoise adopted the island. Among his favorite places, the path that runs along the pond of the Berno tide mill, which its view and tranquility. (The Telegram / Catherine Lozach)

The space challenge

Is it the half-served, the arrival of the baker or his passion for brewing beer as an amateur? The idea sprouted to create a microbrewery, growing barley on site. “In December, we presented our project to elected officials,” explains Nanou.

The peasant-brewer and the peasant-baker will share the 200 m2 of the new communal shed, as well as the land and equipment. It is a challenge to find machines adapted to the narrow streets of the island. A second, to find available land …

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In 2020, the municipality of Île d'Arz built a new agricultural hangar in Kernoël, in the center-west of the island.  The micro-brewer will share this 200 m2 space with the future farmer-baker of the island
In 2020, the municipality of Île d’Arz built a new agricultural hangar in Kernoël, in the center-west of the island. The micro-brewer will share this 200 m2 space with the future farmer-baker of the island. (The Telegram / Catherine Lozach)

“The former mayor Daniel Lorcy made an inventory and contacted all the owners”, explains Jean Loiseau, current councilor. Harvest ? Nine hectares. “It is a great pleasure to see young people making the choice to live here and create their activity while respecting this fragile territory. It’s full of great promises that we want to support, ”continues the mayor, on the lookout for agricultural pre-emptions.

"The first major project will be land clearing in September.  Everything is invaded with brambles and blackthorns.  We will keep hedges, for biodiversity and to cut the wind", ex
“The first major project will be land clearing in September. Everything is invaded with brambles and blackthorns. We will keep hedges, for biodiversity and to cut the wind, ”explains Nanou Lafont. (The Telegram / Catherine Lozach)

A happiness shared by the owners. “Some have told me: my grandfather grew potatoes there, it’s great that these lands are coming back to life,” Nanou rejoices. But time has passed, so what returns can you expect? This is the unknown. The rotation of crops between barley, wheat, rye and buckwheat makes all the more sense.

"I have been brewing for a long time as an amateur.  I love the magical side of fermentation and the incredible taste diversity of hops", explains Nanou Lafont who imagines distributing on the island and has
“I have been brewing for a long time as an amateur. I like the magical side of fermentation and the incredible diversity of flavors in hops, ”explains Nanou Lafont, who plans to distribute on the island and around the Gulf, in 75 cl bottles or barrels. (The Telegram / Catherine Lozach)

White, blonde and black for La Bernache

A test plot of 5,000 m2 was sown with barley in March. In September, clearing for a real harvest in the summer of 2022. Nanou plans six tons of grain. They will go to the mainland, in Morbihan, for malting, then will be brewed on the island. “Between the agricultural investment, the equipment of the brewery and the fitting out of the workshop, I hope to stay in the 80,000 €”. While waiting for the first of the 250 hectoliters of the annual microbrewery La Bernache, Nanou is training with other brewers. “There is room for local beers to taste. “In the fall of 2022, she imagines them white, blonde and especially black,” neither thick nor bitter “. Enough to already put water – from the Gulf of Morbihan – to your mouth.

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