DAVAO CITY (MindaNews/25 November) — “Being dirty is bad, and beer is good,” the product label reads.
However, it does not mean that you may wash whatever is dirty with beer.
In the gold rush town of Pantukan in Compostela Valley province, an artisan soap maker has developed a new soap using beer. And yes, it is even the most popular brand of beer in the country: San Miguel Beer.
Alvin Louie Ang, owner of the H&W Organica, has been producing health and beauty products since 2011, including soaps made of organic ingredients and using virgin coconut oil as base ingredient.
But what makes his product distinct from those of other artisan soap makers is the beer soap or “El Jabon de Cerveza,” one of the eight soap products of H&W Organica.
From nurse to entrepreneur
Ang quit his job as a staff nurse of the Pantukan District Hospital after three years and embarked on producing health care products.
“Nakita nako na nagkaroon na ug awareness sa organic or natural products. Pero since ang mga product na organic is niche market siya, mainly the reason why is that the ingredients in making the product is quite expensive such as virgin coconut oil, so dili sya affordable to all,” the 28-year old nurse turned entrepreneur told MindaNews.
Ang said that being a nurse who learned some basics of chemistry in college gave him an edge in developing the health and beauty products.
His family’s VCO business prompted him to make the VCO as the base for all of his products “because I believe that choosing to be healthy, natural and organic life style must not be expensive.”
He further explained that since VCO is considered a wonder oil, it means a lot of benefits can be obtained from it. “And that made me decide to make personal care products which is VCO-based”
As for beer as an ingredient of one of its products, H&W Organica’s website has this to say: “The best tasting beer you will ever have is not just for the drinking, surprisingly beer can also be a fantastic soap. Since it is made from a high class malt and hops (that give it distinct bitter yet sweet taste) is rich in B vitamins therefore, it is a good skin moisturizer, it helps maintain your skin tone.”
Ang said he acquired additional knowledge for his craft from a European chemist in 2013 after he received a grant from PUM Netherlands, a non-government organization that extends capability assistance to local entrepreneurs.
While he refused to disclose the details of the beer soap formula, he hinted that 24 bottles of San Miguel Beer Pilsen can make 200 bars of soap.
He said his startup capital of P100,000 came from his savings while he was still earning P12,000 monthly as a nurse in his hometown.
He added that he is now producing about 2,000 bars of different soaps every quarter.
His products are sold in some malls in the city, Cebu and Manila.
Aside from the beer soap, H&W Organica also produces goat’s milk soap, seaweed soap, Black Soap with Tea Tree Oil, Chocolate Soap and Coffee Soap. All of these products are using VCO as their base ingredient.
But the beer soap, which costs P65 each, is the bestseller, he bared.
Ang’s products were part of the showcase of the Compostela Valley Province’s exhibit during the Davao Trade Expo at SMX Convention Center here on November 19 to 22.
“As what they said, beer is a gift from God and so make it a bath habit,” the product description on the website reads. (Keith Bacongco/ MindaNews)