Jukka Mononen – My home town Lappeenranta

Jukka Mononen is introducing people to better beer

The Tuju Brewing Company Ltd was established in 2015 when two beer lovers, Jukka Mononen and Tuomas Mäkiniemi, realised that they were so interested in good beer and making it that it was time to take the home brewing hobby to the next level and start producing craft beer to a wider customer base.

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The decision was also influenced by the fact that their home town, Lappeenranta, lacked a brewhouse at the time.

–We knew that enthusiasm alone was not enough, so we studied the field further and acquired the necessary equipment, recalls Jukka Mononen, currently the Account Manager responsible for Tuju’s sales and restaurant operations.

–The name was invented on the fly by combining the first syllables of our given names – TuJu is a suitably pungent and easy name with a hint of beer to it. 

Wide selection of traditionally crafted beers

Mononen says roughness and jaggedness make Tuju stand out from the competition – the brand does not always go with the flow. Tuju beers are crafted in the traditional style with the aim of creating a flavour that will hook customers and introduce them to good, or as they like to say – better – beers.  

–We invest in a wide range of products with uncompromising quality,” says Mononen. “Most of our beers are of the IPA or India Pale Ale, and even more specifically NEIPA or New England Pale Ale, style, but the selection also includes many lager beers. Our biggest success story has certainly been the Pumpattava Barbaari Helles lager, which was chosen as the best beer in Finland and has boosted our sales and brand recognition significantly.

Tuju’s brewery and beer shop are currently located on Meijerinkatu in Harapainen, Lappeenranta, with the new Tuju Taproom restaurant opened in Rakuunamäki, where the brewery will also move. Mononen is happy with the location.

– A former barracks area, Rakuunamäki has over time turned into a charming and original community, he explains.

– The area has apartments, offices, a hotel, a banquet venue in a former service personnel canteen, and now our restaurant! A great environment close to the harbour and the city centre. 

Lappeenranta, of course

Mononen is from Lappeenranta and does not want to move anywhere, so it was clear that the company would be set up in Lappeenranta.

– Lappeenranta is just the right size and had no brewery at the time, so the timing was just right. Demand and supply met, he says.

– It was easy to get help with questions related to starting a business, and the city’s business services sparred us on the business plan and assisted in finding the initial production facilities in Harapainen.

The city was also there to help with the opening of the Tuju Taproom restaurant in the summer of 2023. With the initial inspection carried out swiftly and the building control services giving clear instructions on the points to be dealt with, the doors were opened on schedule.

– We are very grateful to the city, says Mononen.

– Summer is the most important season in our industry, so it was important that everything went smoothly.

Though a smallish restaurant, Taproom offers 16 different tap beers and a changing selection of guest beers.

Mononen also likes Lappeenranta for other reasons besides regionalism.

– Actually, the city has grown quite a lot, having already more than 70,000 residents, he says.

– That amount of people means that you can find a good range of services here, such as cafes and shops, and enough clientele for us as well. Lappeenranta is also a popular tourist city.

Safe and child-friendly city is surrounded by Saimaa

Mononen likes living in Lappeenranta also because of the abundant nature and the fact that Saimaa surrounds the city in many directions. Another important thing is safety and child-friendliness.

– As a father, I appreciate the playgrounds and great beaches. You can enjoy the Rantaraitti lakeside route alone or with children, and the harbour and the Fortress feature events for all ages throughout the year.

 Even if you enjoy your work, you need something to balance the long working days. Mononen’s lifeline is kickboxing, for which he has found a great setting in Lappeenranta.

– In fact, Lappeenranta has better than average recreational opportunities, Mononen says.

– We have CrossFit and gym facilities, shooting sports at the sports centre, and three golf courses, and that is before all the fourth largest lake in Europe, Lake Saimaa, has to offer.

Also, Lappeenranta offers good future prospects. Mononen is sure that the company will succeed and, most importantly, that he and his family will have a good and safe life in Lappeenranta.

– The city has good schools with different weighted curricula, he explains.

– After comprehensive school, there are good opportunities for further studies at the vocational college or one of the higher education institutes in the region, of which LUT University is ranked among the top 100 universities in the world.

There are many reasons to live in Lappeenranta. Besides better beer.



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