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Author Topic: How i started a nanobrewery in Venezuela!!! Part V  (Read 2350 times)


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How i started a nanobrewery in Venezuela!!! Part V
« on: April 11, 2014, 11:22:10 AM »
You can find the other parts of this post on:

Part I


Part II


Part III


Part IV

2013 it was a great year to us and for all the homebrewer in Venezuela. One of the important tasks to us in the last two years it was the continuously education of the customer to enjoy a craft beer, remember that the Venezuelan beer drinker only knows one kind of beer, so we practically has to convince every customer of the benefits of the craft beer and explain why the price is different from the commercial beer.

This was a very difficult work to do because in Venezuela the minimum wage in 2013, it´s something like 300 dollars per month at government exchange rate (but this is an unreal minimum wage, in 2014 with this crisis the not official minimum wage it´s something about 70 dollars per month), and we are selling a bottle of 750 ml on 3,5 dollars.

So we are selling a very expensive beer if you compare the prices with the prices of normal beer. To make this possible we has made a lot of promotional events, goes to the bars and restaurant, an explain to the costumer why this craft beer it´s so expensive and explains why it’s a better beer. Another important thing that we do is the training of the bar and restaurants owners and employees about the different kinds
of beer how to offer this new product, how to serve the beer, what kind of glass to use, etc. This is a very important thing to do, because if the bar doesn’t know how to sell your beer, the beer it's not going to sell itself. So we are very strictly in this particular point, because a bad way offering a beer is bad advertising, so if the bar or restaurant doesn’t make a good work we stop the shipping of the beer to that bar.

This maybe it sound a little drastic but to us it´s working, because the production of
craft beer here is too small, so find a bottle it’s very difficult, so the people looks for the beer in all the bars and restaurants that sell craft beer and if in some moment the bar doesn’t have craft beer the people leave the place, so these places notice that and in time has learned how to sell our beers.

--Designing and waiting—

In January 2013, we decide to make a bigger equipment, bring equipment from outside Venezuela is impossible to us so we have to think how make it here. So we design a 160 l (42 gal) system, a hot liquor tank, an electric mash tun and boil kettle, and finally the conical fermenters

Well we saw lots of videos and read a great quantity
of information to try to replicate some things; we want something simple but efficient and functional. In February we find a company that can make these systems and we start the designing of the first part of the one year journey to complete our system.

First the boil kettle, we want a simple boil kettle build on stainless steel 304 with a 160 l capacity. This one was the easy one, is an electric insulated boil kettle; in about two months we have our new boil kettle and a week later our first conical fermenter

The guy that construct our systems have a lot of experience building vessels to the pharmaceutical and food industry, but in the brewery business is like us, it´s just a beginner.

The boil kettle was perfect some minor details but it works and these details were solved
later in time, the conicalfermenter has details too but nothing critical. We receive the boil kettle in april and two weeks later we start the use of our new system, we have to solve the problem of the temporally mash tun and pay the first part of the next step of our project: the hot liquor tank and the complicated mash tun.

In this moment on the country the money exchange control and the government policies has destroy almost all the national production of everything, and as result find the stainless steel and all the parts needed to build our mash tun was a very difficult thing. We bought the pumps and some connection on the US but practically our project was on standby.

A year later we are still waiting for our mash tun and hot liquor tank and it looks that soon will be delivered
, but we are still waiting (and the crisis its worse now).

So we have a partial new system but we managed to work in an efficient way with this half system and upgrade our production from 160 L to a 400 L to 600 L per month.

On july
of 2013 finally the ACAV (Asociacion de Cerveceros Artesanales de Venezuela/ Venezuela Craft Beer Association) was founded, and all the homebrewers made a big party where almost all the homebrewer offer their products, it was a 70 or 80 people party and we have lots of good beer from different parts of the country, it was an amazing day because we meet each other talk about beer grains, hops, techniques and finally the ACAV its real.

In this moment i´m one of the directors of the ACAV
, and we make a progression in the legal situation and make possible lots of events of beer culture in Venezuela.

--The Holy Grains—

As you can remember, we use an unknown malted barley, we don’t know where it come from or what kind of malt it is, I suspect that it could be a Pilsen malt or a Pale malt but at that time it was impossible to know that. So I start a private eye investigation to know what we are using and it was difficult at that moment because all the people who sells these malt lived outside of Caracas and when you talk to them they not know anything about the malt that they were selling and they don’t want to tell us where they find this malt.

After almost a year of investigation I found the true!!! These malt originally was used
to feed farm animals in some parts of Venezuela and someone notice that this malt could be used to make beer and begins to use it and sell it to the new homebrewers in the country. Ok but were it come from?, because this explain some part of the mystery but not all. So, time later I discover the next part of the mystery.

These malt it comes from the seaport silos were the biggest commercial brewery here in Venezuela receive the malt that they use to make the beer, when the truck take the malt from the silos it can´t take all the contents in it, so always it’s a percentage of malt that the trucks can’t take to the brewery, the seaports authority´s send a group of employees to take these grains and they put it in bags and someone sell it almost free to the people that
have farms (something like 0,1 dollars per lb) and finally they sell these to us.

So after a long time we know that we are using Pilsen malt but we doesn’t know yet where it comes from and what brand it is, I suspect the they bring these malt from Germany but i´m not sure.

At this point we are making a nice beer but it was a very mediocre beer, because we are like we are flying blind, we don´t know what malts are we using and we are making our specialty malts, so we are some kind of beer
alchemist trying to covert anything in liquid gold.

In Agust
of 2013, we have the opportunity to buy malts with other homebrewers in the US, it was a very expensive thing to do with black market dollars but it was something we need to do, in order to make a better beer, to find the dollars I talk to a good friend of mine that live in Panama and he is going to visit Venezuela in that moment and i sell to him Bolivares and he will keep my dollars in Panama, when we make the malts order he pay from his bank and finally we have almost got our good malts.

But when the malts arrive Miami here in Venezuela explodes a big problem with the importation companies, in that time we bring all our ingredients from US using a door to door service, but here in Venezuela they don´t pay any taxes and they don’t have any legal permission, so as the legal craftbeer
problem the door to door companies it was use by all the people in Venezuela but they are illegal. So the government tried to control these companies and all the order that enter the country using this method it will be confiscated. So our malts were in a warehouse in Miami for almost two months.

As always occurs in Venezuela after one and a half month the door to door companies use the corruption method to start again the business, and a time later we finally have our malts.

Now for the first time in our brewery history we begins to make the beer with the malts and specifications that we want, the next batches was everytime
better and better and the custumer notice the difference.

End of Part V

fixed errors only.
« Last Edit: April 11, 2014, 04:43:05 PM by HomeBrewDave »


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Re: How i started a nanobrewery in Venezuela!!! Part V
« Reply #1 on: April 11, 2014, 01:27:36 PM »
Man... this is an amazing story.


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Re: How i started a nanobrewery in Venezuela!!! Part V
« Reply #2 on: April 11, 2014, 04:38:39 PM »
I agree I am really enjoying these.
When you finally bring us to current times ca n you just start making up stuff? I dont want to see this end  :D

Come visit us at www.BackCreekBrewing.com


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Re: How i started a nanobrewery in Venezuela!!! Part V
« Reply #3 on: April 11, 2014, 05:02:30 PM »
This story so good  :) 


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Re: How i started a nanobrewery in Venezuela!!! Part V
« Reply #4 on: April 11, 2014, 07:08:25 PM »
Here is a recent video about the political situation in Venezuela:



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How i started a nanobrewery in Venezuela!!! Part V
« Reply #5 on: April 11, 2014, 07:44:24 PM »
Incredible storey! 

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Re: How i started a nanobrewery in Venezuela!!! Part V
« Reply #6 on: April 11, 2014, 07:50:04 PM »
Couldn't agree with these comments more. Your story is fascinating. I am honoured to have you as a contributing member of our forum.  Look forward to more great posts by you.  CheerZ

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If you like what you see please like, share, and subscribe. CheerZ


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Re: How i started a nanobrewery in Venezuela!!! Part V
« Reply #7 on: April 13, 2014, 07:53:37 AM »
Here is a recent video about the political situation in Venezuela:


Well, this video only shows a very little part of what´s happening in Venezuela, but it´s all true. :'(


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Re: How i started a nanobrewery in Venezuela!!! Part V
« Reply #8 on: April 13, 2014, 08:17:49 AM »
this is amazing OldDans. my beer tastes like its getting better by every mouthful as I read.
beer makes you feel the way you ought to feel without beer.....Henry Lawson.


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Re: How i started a nanobrewery in Venezuela!!! Part V
« Reply #9 on: April 13, 2014, 12:20:52 PM »
this is amazing OldDans. my beer tastes like its getting better by every mouthful as I read.

Thanks Vic now i´m finishing the final part!!


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