LIFE

Patra's historic Mamos beer set for revival

NIKOS VATOPOULOS, MARGARITA POURNARA

TAGS: Gastronomy, Initiative, Food

Photographs of Athens's Omonia Square back in the 1960s – when it still had a fountain – reveal the dynamism of the Greek economy at the time, as it was lit up at night by dozens of neon signs that cast a mesmerizing glow. Older residents of the city may remember that one of these depicted a huge glass of Mamos beer.

Athenian Brewery's revival of this ale, after 41 years, is a business move that can be interpreted symbolically in many different ways, as Mamos's history is intrinsically linked to the social and economic history of its hometown Patra in western Greece. According to the brewery, Mamos will be made to the same authentic recipe.

Petros Mamos (1880-1957) was Greece's first brewer to have a degree in the business, from Munich no less. His father, who started out as Greece's first Ford car dealer, entered the field after marrying Eliza Fix, the daughter of the family behind the historic Fix brewery in Athens.

Petros Mamos imported excellent varieties of malt, hops and yeast from Germany and Bohemia and developed traditional recipes with his own techniques. He started producing lager around 1900, when the technology improved in leaps and bounds, and expanded his brewery into a unit that operated almost uninterrupted until 1976.

The factory brought many benefits to Patra, once a city that had prospered on the currant trade but felt the wounds of war deeply. Mamos beer's revival today is thanks mainly to the efforts of Petros Mamos's grandson, Panaghis, a scholar of Greek brewing history, who reached out to Athenian Brewery CEO Zooullis Minas while studying the 1950-70 period, and now Mamos is joining the brewery's top names – among them Alfa, Amstel, Heineken and Fischer.

Its hometown stands to benefit too, as Athenian Brewery's biggest unit is in Patra and will be producing Mamos Pils, with a 5 percent alcohol content. It will initially be sold only in Patra, shortly after in the rest of the Peloponnese and then around Greece.

“I'll be working closely with Athenian Brewery so that the brand can advance once more, to the benefit of the economy and society on a local, regional and national level,” says Panaghis Mamos.

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