Many retirees who move here are beer lovers. Unfortunately, the choice of beer is limited to a few nationally brewed brands and a couple of imports. The local beers are Imperial, Pilsen, Bavaria, Rock Ice and Heineken. The major imported beers are Corona from Mexico, Budweiser from the States and Toña from neighboring Nicaragua. I even saw a couple of brands from China in a local Walmart.
The good news is that retirees who are beer connoisseurs can now savor some local home-made craft brewskis. Craft brewed beer is called cerveza artesenal in Spanish. It is actually very popular and makes up about 15 percent of the beer brewed world-wide. However, the industry is in its infancy here and will have to overcome a few obstacles before it really takes off. Eventually it should be a big hit here given the number of beer drinkers in the country.Craft Brewers insist that the potential market for their products is excellent. “The sky is really the limit for cerveza artesenal.” Costa Rican love their beer and the men here proudly boast that the three most important things in their lives are soccer, women and beer but not necessarily in that order.
Craft beer makers do face a few hurdles here. They have to import the raw material (hops/lúpulos, yeast /levadura and barley/cebada)r and also have to educate a general public that is used to commercial beer. There is also some paperwork involved. To open a beer company both operating and health permits are required. This paperwork must be renewed every five years.
Another factor that will have to be overcome is that craft brew sells for about double the price of normal draft beer. Potential clients must be willing to pay between ¢ 2,000 and ¢ 3,000 per bottle or mug which is double or triple the cost of a regular beer like Imperial.
Presently, there are only three current craft breweries operating in Costa Rica. Costa Rica Craft Brewing in Cartago, and the restaurant-breweries Volcano Brewing in Arenal and Bribri Springs on the Caribbean side of the country that only sell at their locations.
Perra Hermosa, Treintaycinco in Escazú, Calle Cimarrona in Los Yoses, Pezuña Negra and PerroVida should be in business soon.
Pater Gilman, co-owner of Costa Rica Craft Brewing is enthusiastic about coming up with some unique flavors using local ingredients like honey, cacao and cas (sour guayaba) to give his beer a unique flavor.