Johan’s family have been in the brewing business for several generations. He’s probably the most adventurous of the three head brewers.
“My motto is you can’t stop change, but it’s up to you whether to be part of the change,” he says, adding that he’s always been inquisitive by nature. And that influences him in his work.
He finds inspiration for new beers at meals, when cooking and on business trips.
“I’m a bit of a travelling brewer, you might say. It’s always enjoyable visiting customers, I learn a lot from that,” he says.
He’s also driven by the desire to be constantly better, both for himself and the brewery.
“I’m very much someone who looks for opportunities to improve.”
He recounts ideas sparked by a particular smell or that have grown from a particular need.
“I was barbecuing some wild boar burgers and it occurred to me that there were no beers that went really well with them. So we developed Brutal Bulldog,” says Johan with satisfaction.
Johannes grew up in Bavaria in Southern Germany, right next-door to a brewery. His parents ran the brewery pub and the children of the brewery owners went to school with Johannes.
“I thought I’d become a carpenter, but when I had to choose a profession the brewery was looking for an apprentice,” he recounts.
His apprenticeship required him to attend college for a few weeks a year, with the rest of his time spent at the brewery learning to produce beer. After working at the brewery for a few years, in 2001 he embarked on a two-year head brewer course.
“I did pretty well in my apprentice exam, so I got a grant to pay for the course. Which was great as it was expensive,” says Johannes.
He started working at Swedish brewer Spendrups in 2009 and later joined Gotlands Bryggeri. And he has now bought a house on the island so he can be there full time. Despite only being 38, he has a lot of experience having started so young in the industry.
“I like to say that I have a five-year head start on most other people,” he says.
He describes himself as focussing on quality.
“I want to ensure that we deliver consistent quality,” says Johannes.
Johan Spendrup, who is both Managing Director and head brewer at Gotlands Bryggeri, is pleased to have Johannes’ experience of Bavarian beers. It’s a real asset for the brewery, where Johan comes up with the ideas for new products and has a good understanding of the different varieties of hops.
“Joakim’s good on Belgian beers,” he says, describing each of the head brewer’s strengths.
Joakim Eneqvist stumbled upon the brewing business by coincidence. He’d just completed his national service and had worked in a few jobs in the food industry. But he was trying to decide on a career and was looking for a training course. He discovered the brewing technology course in Ludvika, central Sweden, and fell head over heels.
“I’ve always been a bit more interested in beer than my mates and have always wanted to try new kinds of beer. And I’ve brewed the local Gotlandsdricke myself,” he explains.
He grew up on Gotland and when he was looking for an internship in 2010, Gotlands Bryggeri was the natural choice.
“I got a job here the year after I completed my course,” he recounts.
He worked as a brewery technician and in 2014 he had the opportunity to go on a six-month head brewer course in Germany. He then returned and became one of the three head brewers at Gotlands Bryggeri.
“I’m now a certified head brewer,” he says with pride.