First, it was ethnic furniture that bloomed to include a restaurant in just two short years— all within the first year freshly out of university. A wine bar, a supper club, a restaurant, and many more conceptual outlets have since grown by Bona Budhisurya and his partners under OPCO Indonesia. The latest is STARK Craft Beer, with its own brewery in Bali, that is set to take over Jakarta and Indonesia in the long run.
How did you start STARK Craft Beer and how does your background play into it? The idea came along because I like to travel all over the world to experience different food and drinks, especially craft beers with their distinct tastes. Indonesia, however, has long been producing commercial beers yet there was no locally produced craft beer. Craft beers have to be produced with highquality, unique ingredients using 100 per cent malt and grain unlike commercial beers that are produced for the mass market. So I grew the passion to produce Indonesia’s craft beers—the first and only one until today, that is. With my background in mechanical engineering, it was easier for me to understand all the processes and the machinery needed to produce beer. Before STARK was born in 2010, I took a one-week crash course about brewing in Sydney to better understand the secrets behind brewing a quality craft beer.
What challenges do you face in creating and promoting craft beer in Indonesia and how do you solve them?
The biggest challenge is to educate Indonesian market about the difference between lowerquality commercial beers and higher-quality craft beers, which are brewed with the best ingredients available and without cutting corners by using cheap substitutes. Promoting craft beer here is another big hurdle because we have to convince sellers to beat the market monopoly of bigger brands. To solve these problems, we differentiate STARK as a craft beer that is not the same as commercial beers, and even better, by doing market education and training.
How will you define the success of STARK Craft Beer in the next five to 10 years? Success is when we can dominate the Indonesian market similarly to the situation in Bali today, where tourists mostly understand about craft beers. In the next five to 10 years, I believe STARK Craft Beer will dominate the market in Indonesia, or even compete against imported beers, and take over the market— just as what happened in America and Australia with their mature markets in which the majority of people choose to consume craft beers. We are also coming up with new products from craft vodka, following Grey Goose’s standards, to craft gin, after Hendrick’s standards, and whisky, with world-class quality the likes of Kavalan, Hibiki, and Yamazaki. As for STARK, we plan to open a flagship store in Central Jakarta for our customers to taste our craft beer variants, new creations, and seasonal beers.
See Also: Stark Beer New Flavours Re-Launch Party