THE FRENCH ALPSThe Art of Hoppyness

Christian Luthy, founder of Le Bec Jaune in Morzine, left a London career to brew craft beer in the Alps. And he’s not the first entrepreneur to have traded city for slopes.

THE FRENCH ALPS

The Art of Hoppyness

Christian Luthy, founder of Le Bec Jaune in Morzine, left a London career to brew craft beer in the Alps. And he’s not the first entrepreneur to have traded city for slopes.

Le Bec Jaune in Morzine

“The best part about founding Le Bec Jaune,” says Christian Luthy, “was no longer considering business as business, but an extension of what you love. I brew in the mornings, normally, but on powder days I’ll ski for hours and brew in the evening instead.” Luthy spent several years in a high- stress career in London before he decided to brew beer. Working first at the Kernel Brewery in Bermondsey, he then moved with his wife to the mountains. The idea of combining his passion for brewing with his other greatest passion, skiing, proved irresistible. And, although taking a lease on an old block in the centre of Morzine and investing in expensive equipment were risky measures, the risks paid off.

On any night, Le Bec Jaune is packed. Word travels quickly in alpine villages, and it’s said that the beer here is the best in town. With every drop brewed on site, people roll in from all over to sip on piney American IPAs, Belgian Wit Biers, Coffee Vanilla Export Stouts or Raspberry Berliner Weisse sours, accompanied by simple seasonal food, from cassoulet au saucisson to vegan superfood burgers and pulled pork buns. Matthew Stone, Luthy’s partner and chef, says: “When I’m not cooking I’m scouring the markets. There’s nothing more pleasurable than hunting for fine local produce in the mountains.”

Other young entrepreneurs to have brought interesting, independent businesses to the mountains include Ben Bradford and Magda Szuster, founders of the successful Mountain Gourmet catering company in Chamonix, Seb Hall and Alex Fateh, responsible for the recent refurbishment and re- launch of Val d’Isère institution Dick’s Tea Bar, and Julie Slaughter, director of the imaginative Wipeout, printing piste, trail or route maps onto high quality lens cloths for resorts ranging from Courchevel and Meribel to Les Arcs. All five are enthusiasts of skiing, hiking and alpine living, proving that work need not always be removed from pleasure.