In the mid-2010s, a group of friends discovered craft beer production and embraced a new passion. The results of weekly brew sessions were shared between the brewers and pay-as-you-like bars in a collective house.
In 2015, five of the group’s members founded the “Brasserie du Virage”. They moved their activity into the Saconnex-d’Arve Distillery, freshly bought by the Commune of Plan-les-Ouates, and shared the premises with other craftsmen, including the historic distilling activity. The brewery takes this name for three reasons. Firstly, from a geographical point of view, it is located on the bend (“virage” in French) before the village of Saconnex-d’Arve. Secondly, to offer styles of beer previously unavailable in Geneva; this was a turning point in the Geneva brewing scene. And finally, for the five founders, this was a professional turning point. In the autumn, after several months’ work, the first brews were produced and sales began immediately.
The first year saw the development of new recipes to define what has since become the brewery’s regular range. At the same time, experimentation continued with limited editions. Several dozen ephemeral beers have since been created, ranging from the session white India pale ale to barley wines aged in rum barrels, as well as bitters, saisons, stouts and mixed fermentation beers. It was also a period that saw our first collaborations with friendly breweries and projects close to our hearts. Every week, the brewery opened its doors to visitors and tasters, building a direct link between producers and connoisseurs.
The brewery changed its legal form in 2018 to become a cooperative company whose shares are held entirely by its employees. This transformation reaffirms our values with regard to work: horizontal operation and egalitarian decision-making among employees. Le Virage is also one of the breweries behind the creation of the Association des Brasseries Indépendantes de Genève (ABIG), which came into being in early 2018..
To further the growth of the brewery and develop better working conditions, we invested in equipment in 2019. This was an important step, with new brewing and fermentation tanks. A few months later, like the industry as a whole, our business was hit hard by the COVID pandemic. The brewery survived thanks to a loyal customer base of private individuals and to the diversity and trust of its professional customers.
This period also marked the switch to 100% local cereals, with the decision to source exclusively Genevan barley and wheat, malted by the Cercle des agriculteurs in Satigny. By also favoring the closest hop suppliers, we are fulfilling our desire for production that favors the shortest circuits.
Expected and prepared for years, the renovation works finally took place in 2023, forcing the brewery to suspend production for six months. The building was rebuilt and renovated, and a brand-new tasting room was created. The brewery takes advantage of its refurbishment to review work ergonomics and the location of the various production workstations. A new bottling machine is installed to improve the quality and shelf life of our bottled beers.
Today, the Brasserie du Virage has a permanent staff of six, all passionate about sharing and meeting new people.