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Swiss craft beer How the Three Ladies tickle the taste buds

Brasserie Trois Dames in western Switzerland has built up a reputation as a local brewer of quality beer since its creation in 2003.

Raphaël Mettler, who founded the brewery in Sainte-Croix has made a name for himself with his pioneering entrepreneurial spirit and original selection of beers.

Over 15 years ago, Mettler who owned of a company trading and distributing sports goods, decided to launch himself into the craft beer business. “At the time there were only a few people interested in specialist beers in Switzerland. Most beers were imported from Belgium,” said the 58-year old.

The name for his new beer, Trois Damesexternal link, is a reference to his wife and their two daughters. They all temporarily moved to Vancouver, Canada, in 2006 where they learned about Anglo-Saxon brewing traditions. When they returned to Switzerland a year later, Mettler felt confident enough to become a full-time brewer and make a living producing beer.

He bought an old carpenter’s shop in Sainte-Croix to set up brewing tanks and bottling machines in the small town in the Jura mountains, situated some 55km (22 miles) north of Lausanne.

More than 12 years on, Mettler employs five people and produces about 2,200 hectolitres of beer annually. This is slightly down compared with figures from a few years ago, due to the growing number of competitors in the Swiss craft beer market.

Apart from bottled beers with brightly designed labels and extravagant names like Rivale, Fraîcheur, Pacifique and Voisine, Mettler has developed beers with a much more bitter flavour and with a higher alcoholic content. 

Some of them offer unusual flavours, like the Grande Dame, which is a strong stout mixed with fermented apricot from the Valais region.

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