The Alps and beer
In the late 19th century, eight breweries were operating in the heart of the Alps, attracted by the quality of the water for production, and the proximity of the glaciers for conservation.
The first traces of a brewery go back to 1821 in Sallanches. The owner, Mr. Rabenak, had a single employee, selling 6 500 litres per year.
In 1861, Mr. Essig, director of a Bavarian brewery in Lausanne, set up a brewery in town on either side of Avenue de la Gare.
The business was sold in 1875 to chocolatier Antoine Pissard, then to Mr. Challamel in 1890, in association with Brasserie Saint Jean in Geneva.
In 1902, the company’s name was changed to “Challamel, Boucharge et Viard”, before becoming “Bière du Mont-Blanc” in 1911.
During the summer, Bière du Mont-Blanc produced over 4 000 hectolitres of fermented beverages, compared with 150 hectolitres during the autumn. The cellar, with its glass-lined tanks was kept at 0°C using ice from the pond on the banks of the Arve River. When the winters weren’t cold enough, the brewers collected ice from the base of the Bionnassay or Bossons Glacier. Some 40 brewers worked there.
The Brewery ceased operation in 1966.
However, that was before the arrival of a determined and passionate Savoyard: Sylvain Chiron.
In 1999, he revived “Bière du Mont-Blanc”.