In continuation of my previous post about craft beer in Colombia I would like to finalize a few of my thoughts with the help of a very interesting article found online.
A very comprehensive and well-written account of the “Colombian Beer History" by Ricardo Plano Danais is summarize below. The original article is in Spanish, so if you have any questions don’t hesitate to contact me. By no means is this a complete account so I encourage you to help Ricardo build upon his publication if you come across any helpful information. I do not intend to take credit for Ricardo’s or anyone’s work. My intention is only to show that Colombia has a not-so-brief and rich beer history.
From 1820’s to 1895:
The earliest account of beer in Colombia begins in the 1820’s with the arrival of European immigrants.
- J. Meyer - opens brewing operations in Bogota until assassinated in 1931.
1841 - Brewery founded by Mr. Francisco Stevenel
1845 - Brewery founded by Samuel Sayer
1868 - “Fabrica de Cervezas Cuervo” is founded by Angel Cuervo. Later in 1871 famous linguist and philologist Rufino Jose Cuervo formally joins the brewery. The brewery exchanges owners a couple of times ending with the name “Cerveceria Rey Gambrinus” and eventually closes in 1914.
1869 - “Cerveceria de Jose Delfino Labole” is founded
1878 - “Ceverceria Otalora” is founded
1875 - “Cerveceria Colon” is founded by Gonzalo Velez Restrepo
1875 - “Cerveceria Aguila” is founded by Julio Fernando Flores
1876 - “Cerveceria Restrepo y Arango” is founded by Julio Restrepo
1876 - “Cerveceria de Pablo y Eduardo Nichols” is built by Vicente and Pastor Restrepo for the Nicholls brothers - brewing license obtained from English brewery Lockwood Brewery
1881 - “Cerverceria de Vicente Pastor Restrepo” is founded by Vicente Pastor Restrepo - brewing license obtained from English brewery Lockwood Brewery
1881 - “Cerveceria Cuervo” is founded by Julio Fernando Flores
1882 - “Cerveceria de Restrepo y Villa” is founded
1882 - “Fabrica de Cervezas Murillo” is founded by Colombian pianist, flutist, composer of Colombian Nationalism Emilio Murillo (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gHmpSX7qWrk) who produced a beer called “Maizola” made out of corn (most likely as an adjunct). The brewery was later closed in 1916.
1885-1889 - “Cerveceria Alemana Kopp y Cia.” founded by Emile Kopp (brother of Leo Kopp) which in 1891 becomes “Cerveceria Escallon, Hurtado, Uribe y Cia” after Emile Kopp sells its interest in the company and moves to Bogota.
1885 - “Compañia Productora de Bogota” is founded with its name later changed to “Cerveceria Inglesa”. In 1895, the brewery is bought by Leo Kopp (first brewery purchased by Bavaria) and called “Tivoli Kopp’s Bogota” which later closed in 1914.
1887 - “Cerveceria la Esperanza” is founded by Christian Peter Clausen
From 1895 to 1930:
We start to see the effects of the industrial revolution over industrial processes and technologies in Colombia which naturally transferred to the beer industry like many other countries in the world. It is around this time various breweries are built and which later become important in the development of Bavaria, one of the oldest and most influential breweries in Colombia.
1890 - “Cerveceria de Eduardo Nicholls” is founded by Eduardo Nicholls - brewing license obtained from English brewery Lockwood Brewery
1890 - “Cerveceria la Colombiana” is founded by Julio Fernando Flores
1890 - “Bavaria Kopp’s Deutsche Brauerei” which roughly translates Bavaria Brewery of German Beer is founded by Leo Kopp, Jacob Kopp, and Ludving Kopp. This brewery later becomes one of the oldest and most influential breweries in Colombia at some point owning barley crops and a coal mine to reduce costs of production. It is at this point the war against the fermented beverages like ‘Chicha’ and ‘Guarapo’ begins.
1892-1895 - “Cerveceria Tamayo” is founded by Jose Antonio Tamayo which later closed in 1957. This brewery could be considered the first instance of a modern brewery in Colombia.
1893 - “Cerveceria La Violeta” is founded by Juan Jose Valderrama. This brewery held the title of oldest brewery still in production in Colombia until 2001 when it closed its door.
1895 - “Cerverceria de Velez Hermanos” is founded.
1896 - within this decade a number of other breweries opened”
- “Fabrica de Cervezas la Camelia Blanca”
- “Gran Fabrica de Cervezas la Mirla Blanca”
- “Burton on Trent”
- “Baquero y la Torre”
- “Cerveceria de Manuel Maria Narvaez”
- “Cerveceria de Pacho Ortega”
- “Cerveceria de Jose Ramirez”
- “La Legitimidad”
- “La Bogotana”
1904 - “Cerveceria El Toro” is founded by Francisco Luis Velasquez. It was later closed in 1968.
1905 - “Cerveceria Boliviar” aka ” The Walters Brewing and Ice Making Co.” of english origin is founded and later acquired by Luis Enrique Pochet
1906 - “Germania Fabrica de Cervezas Alemana de Rudolf Kohn & Cia” is founded by Bavaria’s brewmaster Rudolf Kohn who left Bavaria after having various misunderstandings with the Leo Koop. It soon becomes one of the strongest competitors of Bavaria. Rudolf passed away on 1935 and Bavaria later acquired ownership from its heirs.
1912 - “Cerveceria Santander de Cucuta” is founded by Marcelo Acuña, Rene Tronconis and Gregorio Rodriguez.
1913 - “Cerverceria Barranquilla” is founded and released a beer called “El Aguila” which later becomes the largest selling beer in the country.
1922 - “Cerveceria Libertad” is founded and quickly ended in 1925.
1925 - various breweries began operations:
"Cerveceria Nacional" is founded and later closed in 1935.
"Cerveceria Alemana" is founded by Federico Stake
"Cerveceria Baviera" is founded by Jose Stangl
1926-1928 - “La Colombiana de Cervezas” is founded and released a beer called “Poker” which is still sold to this date by Bavaria.
1927 - “Sociedad Cerveceria de Honda S.A” is founded
1928 - “Cerveceria de Magdalena” is founded by Pedro Manuel Davilla and Pedro Maria Hernadez.
From 1930 to 1959
At this point in time we begin to see the consolidation of smaller breweries due the fierce competition. We also begin to see the demise of smaller operations due to various changes in the economy and changes in political climates throughout the world (i.e. World War 2). As soon as Holand was invaded by Nazi Germany, the United States demanded of Colombia 100% national ownership of major industries as Colombia’s proximity to the Panama Canal could spell trouble to the war effort. At this pivotal point in time major breweries become 100% national industries.
1930 - “Consorcio de Cervecerias Bavaria S.A” is formed through the amalgamation of the following:
1) “Cerveceria Alemana Los Andes” (1922) founded by Hernando Caicedo
2) “Cerveceria Colombia” (1925) founded by Teodoro Gathman and Agustino Thulesius.
3) “Cerveceria Continental de Medellin” which was composed of a group of breweries “Cerveceria de Bogota”, “Cerveceria de Pereira” and “Cerveceria de Barranquilla”
4) “Bavaria Bogota” whose majority shareholder was a dutch company “Handel en Industrie Maatschppij” with headquarters in Amsterdam.
The first and second breweries combined to facilitate the purchase and acquisition of the conglomerate initially created by the third and fourth breweries to become the most important company of the country with factories in 7 different cities.
1930 - “Cerveceria Union S.A (Cervounion)” is formed though the amalgamation of “Cerveceria Antioqueña Consolidada de Itagui” and “Cerveceria Libertad” which shares a piece of the market with the powerful conglomerate.
1930 - “Cerveceria Nueva de Cucuta” is founded in 1931 and was amalgamated with “Cerveceria Santander” creating ” Cerveceria Nueva de Cucuta S.A.”
1933 - “Cerveceria de Bolivar” and “Cerveceria de Barranquilla” are in a dire economic situation and are sold to Mario Santo Domingo who acquires all land, buildings and rights forming “Cervecerias Barranquilla y Bolivar S.A” who manufacture a beer called “Aguila” and which later becomes the best selling beer in Colombia.
1939 - “Industrias Apolo” is founded by Luis Arturo Rojas. It was later closed to 1964.
1945 - “Cerveceria Andina S.A” is founded by David and Ernesto Puyana. This brewery becomes the second largest brewery and competitor of Bavaria.
1957 - “Cerveceria Colombo-Alemana” is founded by Ernesto Wersin with the help of German brewery Weiget-Brau.
1959 - The Bavaria conglomerate is officially named “Bavaria S.A”
From 1960’s through to 1990’s
Bavaria continues its acquisition of other smaller breweries in Colombia effectively becoming the largest conglomerate of breweries in the country with no rivals. To successfully achieve its 100% dominance it allowed many small brewing operations to operate independently to prevent anti-monopoly laws from kicking-in and maintain brand loyalty.
Additionally, the Bavaria conglomerate actively invested in other markets such as USA in which it tried to introduce 3 different import quality beer brands (did not work out) as well as investing in a well known hop extract company in the Yakima valley (Hops Extract Corporation of America). It also invested in breweries in Ecuador and Portugal. All investments at this time were an effort to modernize and improve the logistical aspects of the company.
From 1990’s to present - Bavaria
1992 - “Cerveceria Leona S.A” is founded by Ardila Lule, owner of the second largest company in Colombia (Postobon) leader of the soft-drink market. Due to high costs of raw materials (in dollars) Ardila Lule agreed to sell 44% ownership of Cerveceria Leona in 2000 to Bavaria.
2001-2004 - Bavaria closes many of it operations in order to consolidate its costs and eliminate duplication of its processes. By 2004 GEB (Grupo Empresarial Bavaria) is the main brewery in Colombia (99.99%), Ecuador (90%+), Panama (90%+) and Peru (40%+), the second largest brewery in South America and the 10th biggest in the world.
2005 - SAB-Miller group acquires 100% ownership in Bavaria and completely revamps the company’s image and processes. Among its many changes, the SAB-Miller group introduced a red ale which had never existed in Colombia before, marketing was modernized and gave access to Bavaria to an international market.
1994-to present - the rise of nano and micro breweries in Colombia
The following is a list of known nano and micro breweries listed from smallest to biggest in terms of annual hectoliter production:
Cerveceria Don Isauro (2011 - ???) - 3 HL
Uno Entre Mil (2010 - ???) - 4 HL
Cerveceria Chela (2011 - ???) 4 HL
Cervecerai Yggdrassil (2009 - ???) - 6 HL
Cerveceria Nottingham (2010 - ???) - 6 HL
Cerveceria Otraparte (1995 - 2010) - 10 HL
Cerveza Artesanal Nilo (2011 - ???) - 10 HL
Cerveceria San Bernardo S.A.S (2013 - ???) - 10 HL
Cerveza Artesanal Montañera (2012 - ???) - 15 HL
D’ancestros (2012 - ???) - 20 HL
Equipos Insumos Cerveceros (2011 - ???) - 25 HL
Cerveceria Artesanal San Carlos (2012 - ???) - 25 HL
Casa Suarez (2008 - ???) - 30 HL
Cerveceria Artesana S.A.S (2011 - ???) - 30 HL
Cavanso (2007 - 2010) - 48 HL
Dixon Brewery (2002 - 2005) - 50 HL
Valla Verde Cerveza Artesanal (2009 - ???) - 50 HL
Cerveceria Bremen (2013 - ???) - 50 HL
Cerveza Andina (2008 - ???) - 52 HL
Cerveceria La Sabana (2008 - ???) - 60 HL
Alexander Brewing Co. (2012 - ???) - 60 HL
Cerveceria Artesanal Sabaneta S.A.S (2010 - ???) - 72 HL
Fomeque Compañia Cervecera (2011 - ???) 85 HL
Cerveceria Artesanal Holy Water Ale (2011 - ???) - 96 HL
Buitrago Beer (2012 - ???) - 96 HL
Beer Lab Brewery (2007 - ???) - 100 HL
Mr. Coqui Restaurante Bar / Beer Factory (2008 - ???) - 100 HL
Cerveceria Moonshine (2013 - ???) - 100 HL
Cerveceria Estatua Roja (2013 - ???) - 120 HL
Beer and Meat Pub House (2013 - ???) - 140 HL
Cerveceria Gose Pagano (2011 - ???) - 180 HL
Restaurante Pub La Pinta (2012 - ???) - 180 HL
Cerveceria Bruvet (2013 - ???) - 216 HL
La Casa de la Cerveza (1995 - 2010) - 240 HL
Pitia Beer Pub (2004 - 2011) - 240 HL
Cercveza de Barril (2009 - ???) - 240 HL
Bier Krug (2009 - ???) - 250 HL
Ales & Lagers (2009 - ???) - 250 HL
Cerveceria Artesanal de los Andes (2010 - ???) - 250 HL
Licorera Española (2010 - ???) - 250 HL
Bodegas Santa Lucia (2010 - ???) - 250 HL
Cerveza Artesanal Premium Magnus (2012 - ???) - 250 HL
Cerveza Artesanal Demao’s (2010 - ???) - 300 HL
Cerveceria La Caleruna S.A.S (2012 - ???) - 300 HL
1516 Brewing Company S.A.S - (2010 - ???) - 310 HL
Zanguelis Cerveceria (2009 - ???) - 350 HL
Chicamocha Premium Beer (2010 - ???) - 360 HL
Cerveceria Artesanal Juana Morena Ltda. (2005 - 2011) - 480 HL
Cerveza Artesanal Grupo Brumar S.A.S (2009 - ???) - 500 HL
Triangulo Empresarial S.A.S (2010 - ???) - 500 HL
Colombian Beers Ltd. (2008 - ???) - 720 HL
Chelarte Casa Cervecera (2012 - ???) - 720 HL
Restaurante Cerveceria Edelweiss (2007) - 800 HL
Cervecera Pijao S.A.S (2010 - ???) - 800 HL
Empresa de Licores de Boyaca S.A. (2011 - ???) - 1,000 HL
Cerveceria Nuevo Mundo (2010 - ???) - 1,200 HL
Cerveceria Ciudad Blanca (2009 - 2011) - 1,300 HL
Indeutco S.A.S Cerveceria Artesanal (2010 - ???) - 1,600 HL
Cerveceria Artesanal de Colombia S.A.S (2010 - ???) - 2,500 HL
Artesana Beer Company (2008) - 3,800 HL
Industrial de Cervezas y Bebidas S.A. (2009 - ???) - 3,800 HL
Cerveceria Colon S.A. (1997 - 2004) - 4,000 HL
Cerveceria BBC S.A. (2002 - ???) - 40,000 HL
Similar to the North American market there has been a craft beer boom still in its infancy in Colombia and Ricardo’s findings summarized above prove there is a huge unexplored market that has just recently taken the interest of entrepreneurs.
As I had stated before, education will become key for sustainable growth and it should become synonym to increased moderation and quality in the beer industry from the start.