Juan Felipe Lara Fernández,
President of Cervecera del Centro, Costa Rica
I arrived in Costa Rica in 2010, which graciously welcomed me as a refugee, and then gave me a nationality. Since 2016, I am Costa Rican! In 2012 I decided to create a company called Cervecera del Centro S.A., along with my children, my brother-in-law and a Costa Rican partner. I opened that microbrewery in beautiful San Jose.
Cervecera del Centro is framed within the “Craft Beer” movement. However, I would say that by virtue of our processes and the style of our beers, rather than a “craft brewery”, it is “microbrewery”, which implies smaller amounts of beer compared to large-scale producers.
We execute all the necessary processes to produce beer, but in an artisanal way, not industrialized. By our conditions and demands, there are processes that are not industrialized, but manual. Industrial breweries, such as Polar in Venezuela or Stella Artois in Belgium, perform the same basic processes, but automatically and massively. Our volume and production capacity cannot be compared with industrial beer, and this affects and defines the types of beer and the ways to do them.
We decided to start this project in Costa Rica. Like my partner, I did not have any experience, so we hired a master brewer graduated in Germany, Leonardo Rincón. He taught us how to make beers. He is the “brewmaster” of our Brewery Center.
In conjunction with Leonardo’s criteria, all our beers are based on the law of purity developed in Germany: we only use water, hops, barley and yeast. Nothing additional.
Nowadays there is a fashion: to produce versions of beer with added flavors, like cherry, chocolate, and other flavors. We prefer to stick to the original recipes. The criterion that prioritizes all our activities is to maintain a Premium level. Ours is a beer of extraordinary quality, it has become Costa Rica’s Premium beer.
So our whole process was structured around this concept. Most of the brewers of our dimension buy their equipment in countries without much beer tradition. We decided to bring them from Germany. We do not acquire hops in any place other than Germany or Europe. This, together with our internal controls, guarantees exceptional quality. Supervised purity at all times.