In the late 1800s Paris counted among its artisans several local brewers that had set up shop around the city. One Paris brewery, Gallia, occupied the then open grassy spaces of the Montrouge neighborhood, near what we now know as the 14th Arrondissement. Using the quarries and underground cellars of this region for fermentation and bottling rooms, Gallia took part in a tradition of Parisian beer making that thrived until, abruptly, it all but disappeared as a result of the rising rents and urban expansion of the 1960s. Gallia seemed to be consigned to live on only as a memory, the traces of which one might find while wandering through the antiques market at St.-Ouen.
Enter Jacques Ferté and Guillaume Roy, two twentysomething entrepreneurs who last year set out to resurrect Gallia beer, more than four decades after it closed up shop. Jacques and Guillaume are both motivated business owners and beer lovers who refuse to be hindered by the challenges that stopped production of Gallia in ’60s. Because of the high cost of real estate in Paris, the young entrepreneurs have, with the blessing of the descendants of Gallia’s founders, moved the brewing and bottling operations to the Czech Republic, which specializes in the pilsner-style beer truest to Gallia’s original form.
Despite the relocation, Gallia’s new leaders are dedicated to promoting the Parisian roots of the beer, and reacquainting Paris beer drinkers with the original’s tradition and trade. To this end, Jacques and Guillaume have set up a blog to keep their fans abreast of breaking brew news as well as offer lessons in Beer 101. Gallia may be a harbinger of things to come. With other Parisian beer brands, such as Demory, reappearing on the market, the rebirth of the Parisian beer scene may be a trend to keep an eye on.
If a brand-new beer in Paris doesn’t get your attention, perhaps this will: in a post on Gallia’s Facebook page Jacques and Guillaume promised to drop trou in front of the Eiffel Tower if they reached 1,890 fans—1890 is the year that Gallia was established—before March. Who isn’t a fan of that? You can view the (SFW) fruits of their campaign on their Facebook page.
Where to find it: Gallia is sold in bars, stores and markets all over the city. For a complete list of where you can pick up a bottle, check out their website.
Editor’s note: Are you off to Paris? Do consider becoming a Girls’ Guide member. If you do, you’ll be saving real money on hotels, tours and classes.