Latino-owned breweries are hard to come by, despite there being 57 million Latinos in the United States and more than 5,000 breweries. The reasons why are complicated. Some reasons are historical, others are cultural.
“Craft brewing is rooted in home-brewing,” Jeremy Marshall, a brewer at Lagunitas Brewing Co., told NPR in 2013. “And if you look at home-brewing, you see nerdy white guys playing Dungeons and Dragons and living in their mom’s basement, and I know this because I was and am one of them.”
Despite the dearth of Latino-owned breweries, though, the ones that are operational are brewing attention-worthy beer. Here are four of the best.
Juan Camilo, Dyckman Beer Co. in New York City
Dyckman Beer Co. made a splash when it opened in 2012 as the first Latino-owned brewery in New York City. Camilo was born in the Dominican Republic and raised in the Bronx and the Washington Heights neighborhood of Manhattan. Dyckman, which is named after a street in Washington Heights, has a flagship pilsner called Dyckman Brew, a session IPA called Suave, and a witbier called Highbridge Summer Ale.
Andrés Araya, 5 Rabbit Cerveceria in Chicago
Araya, who’s worked in the beer industry in Mexico and Costa Rico, makes craft beer inspired by Latin ingredients. “Latin American, Made in Xicago,” the 5 Rabbit website reads. Araya makes beers like the Oaxacan-style 5 Vulture Dark Ale, and the ChocoFrut Pina, a chocolate stout with pineapple. There’s also the Huitzi, a hibiscus tripel.
The Ceja Family, Carneros Brewing Company in Sonoma, California
Carneros Brewing was founded by the four Ceja brothers: Jesus, Pedro, Armando, and Manuel. They are Mexican-American immigrants who let their culture and their history shine through in their beers. Some notable beers Carneros makes: Jefeweizen (a play on “jefe,” which means boss in Spanish), Cerveza Pilsner, and Negra IPA.
Diego Benitez, Progress Brewing in Los Angeles
Benitez grew up in Mexico City, and his parents made wine in the closet. He did the same when he first moved to the States, but eventually the homemade wine turned to home-brewed beer, which turned into Progress Brewing. At the L.A. taproom, customers can order beers such as the Pablo, a nitro sour ale, the Santa Muerte, a gose, and the Providencia, a hoppy cream ale.