Menabrea transports pubgoers to Italy with new VR pub experience

By James Beeson

- Last updated on GMT

Heritage: VR Concept users will be 'transported' to Menabrea, Italy's oldest continuously producing brewery
Heritage: VR Concept users will be 'transported' to Menabrea, Italy's oldest continuously producing brewery
Premium Italian beer brand Menabrea is giving drinkers the chance to enjoy a pint in northern Italy without leaving their local pub.

Made possible through virtual reality (VR) technology, Menabrea are offering 360 degree tours of the Italian town of Biella, as well as the historic Menabrea brewery – the country’s oldest continuously producing brewery - located at the foot of the Italian Alps.

The VR tour will launch later this year across selected bars in London, Manchester, Glasgow and Edinburgh. Users will be ‘transported’ to Biella to experience the provenance and heritage of the Menabrea brewery.

Menabrea brand manager Angus Lawrie said: “We want to bring the experience of enjoying a refreshingly cold pint of Menabrea in the stunning setting of northern Italy to people across the UK.

'Authentic heritage'

Lawrie continued: “Brewed by the same family for five generations, Menabrea is the number-one premium birra in northern Italy. This VR tour brings a taste of that authentic Italian heritage and culture without having to leave your local bar or restaurant. We can’t wait for people to experience it.”

Founded in Biella, Piedmont, in 1846, Menabrea has been run by the same family for more than one hundred and seventy years. Focusing primarily on lager production, the brewery exports two beers - an ambrata (amber) and bionda (blonde) - to the UK through the C&C Group.

The lagers are made using Hallertau and Saaz hops from southern Germany, barley from France’s Champagne region, and brewer’s maize, yeast, and soft water from the Alpine mountains surrounding Biella.

The lagering process takes place over four weeks in maturation cellars located in underground caves beneath the brewery. The caves, which provide the perfect natural conditions for lagering, were an important factor in choosing the original brewery site back in the 1800s.

Attracting a younger consumer

Meanwhile, VR has been identified​ as an essential way to engage with new crowds of drinkers in the next year.

Anthony Nixon, founder of The VR Concept, said that pubs needed to find new ways to attract younger consumers to the pub.

“You’ve got Generation Z, which is a demographic of 16 to 22-year-olds who are steering away from alcohol,” he said. “You’ve got to find more innovative ways to pull those people in and keep them in the pub. The emphasis on drinking has shifted a bit for them, they just want to do more, different, stuff so we’re trying to target them.

 “VR is a great social activity. You can play up to four players, be in the same game as your friends, then once you’ve finished you can sit down and have a pint. It also makes for a fantastic spectator sport. If you’re looking at something like esports, there’s tens of thousands of people who go to events.”

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