9 Latino-Owned Beers and Breweries You Can Support in the US
It’s August and you want to cool off with a cold, refreshing cerveza, but you’re also on a mission to support Latinx-owned brands — what do you drink?
It’s no secret that Americans love imported beer, which makes sense considering it accounts for over $8 billion in sales as of 2020. Beers like Modelo and Corona in particular have continued growing in demand, reflecting the growth in the Latino population in the U.S.
Despite the ubiquity of these brands and their long-standing history of celebrating Latinidad — and getting our tios and tias pleasantly sauced at family gatherings — new brews are constantly being born from the hoppy minds of up-and-coming brewers.
Inspired by their respective countries, from Mexico to Costa Rica to the Dominican Republic, these brewers have culture, flavor and fun on tap. Here are nine Latino-owned beers you can enjoy without a passport.
Founded in 2011 as the first Latinx-owned and operated U.S. based brewery, the name “5 Rabbit” has origins in Aztec mythology. According to legend, rabbits were the children of two deities and the number five is associated with excess, as the Aztecs believed that being in an altered state served as a portal to the gods.
The beers are just as unique and interesting as the story, using ingredients like chiles and cane sugar to craft “subtle and deeply delicious beers.” Their beers are essentially divided into vibes, including Gringolandia, inspired by the Latinx experience in America, and Las Chingonas, inspired by bold, unconventional flavors. They also have one called Paletas, and guess what? They’re perfect for summer.
Jess Fierro is the homebrewer turned professional behind this operation, after winning a national homebrew competition called Beerland. But that’s just the tip of the iceberg — Fierro has won numerous accolades, including the 2021 SCWCC Minority Business of the Year and the 2020 Hispanic Emerging & Business Leader of the Year. With a focus on female empowerment, the Colorado Springs-based brewery produces “unique flavors that challenge consumer’s perspective of craft beers.” Fierro gets creative with names, too, like “E-legal” and “Chapulines Colorados,” featuring real crickets. In her words: “Diversity, It’s on Tap!”
Founded by José D. Beteta, Tamil Maldonado Vega and Martín D. Vargas, Raíces Brewing is Latino-owned and operated, seeking to serve culture and awareness as well as beer. Their motto? “Comunindad, cultura, cerveza.” Raíces means “roots,” the importance of which is exactly what the founders wanted to emphasize.
The brewery has won eight national awards for four of their original beers, like Valle del Sol, brewed to “bright, effervescent” perfection, and Furia, a red ale with a malted caramel finish. They also have one called Cafecito, inspired by the Carribbean and full of umami. Now that’s a cold one I’d like to crack open.
Based in San Diego, Border X Brewing initially began as a European-inspired brewery, focusing on English IPAs and Czech pilsners. However, after one of the founders produced a beer that was reminiscent of the Mexican hibiscus drink agua de Jamaica, they let the compass of their imaginations point them back to their roots. Aside from their hibiscus beer, called Blood Saison, they also have a Horchata Golden Stout with “notes of vanilla bean and whole cinnamon”, and Café Inglés, a chocolatey, malty roast. For founders David Favela and Carmen Velasco-Favela, bringing it back to their culture was the key to success.
Although female brewers date back to ancient Sumer, only about 23% of brewery owners today are female. Mujeres Brew House, brought to you once again by Carmen Velasco-Favela and her partner, Esthela Davila, seeks to remedy that. The brewery is female-operated and Latina owned, dismantling the patriarchy with their Hard Agua Frescas and fun beer flights. In August, they’re doing a special flight: beers paired with Mexican candies. If you happen to be in the San Diego area, don’t miss out!
Javier and Jose Lopez are brothers from Chicago who seek to create beers that you can enjoy “in any setting.” That doesn’t mean that they make generic, people-pleasing beers — a lo contrario. Their selection boasts a few wild cards, such as their prickly pear infused brew called Nopalli, a corn infused beer called Maizal and one with notes of Mexican vanilla and roasted, Ecuadorean cacao called Tempestad. Based in the Hermosa neighborhood of Chicago, the brothers agreed that when they release a new beer, one of the coolest things is seeing this generation’s reaction. “We want to help bring back the memories,” they said. Childhood, here we come.
Named after the street where Washington Heights meets Manhattan, this was the first Latino-owned brewery in New York City. It’s founder, Juan Camilo, was born in the Dominican Republic and immigrated to the U.S. when he was 5, eventually becoming a fellow of the 2013 Stanford University Entrepreneurship Institute and learning to brew his own beer. Dyckman’s Highbridge Summer Ale is sweet and aromatic, infused with passion fruit and ideal for “any Verano en Nueva York.” Camilo’s beers are distributed across 175 locations in New York City and the Dominican Republic.
As the name would imply, Progress Brewing seeks to catalyze change, one beer at a time. Founded in South El Monte, California, by Dr. Diego Benitez, who has a Ph.D. in chemistry, the brewery offers both beer and wine for those of us that can’t make up our minds. They feature a Frida Crowler, with notes of black currant and sour cherry, along with a hoppy, blueberry-infused Wild Horse Saison. Currently, their taproom is in the process of relocating to a bigger space in order to better accommodate for their growing community.
This award-winning brewery in West Chula Vista provides a glimpse into Mexican Culture via the lens of Southern California. The brewers admit that they’re trying to debunk some stereotypes, while accidentally confirming others. In a recent interview, one of the owners, who goes by Lil Mr. E, stated, “I thought it would be sick af for a Brown-owned, Brown-brewed beer to hit the streets.” The beers are funky and surprising, like the Niña Fresca with notes of strawberry and the limited release Pisto, which tastes like “a cold gust of wind on a warm summer’s night,” according to Lil Mr. E. The only way to know if he’s right? We have to try it for ourselves.
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