Colombia has a long history of having a very poor selection of beer. Aguila, Poker, Pilsen and Club Colombia – lagers that all taste more or less the same, dominate 99% of the Colombian beer sales. They also have the same owner, the Bavaria brewery, owned by South African SABMiller in which the Colombian Santo Domingo family owns a considerable stake.
The almost monopoly-like condition of the Colombian beer market is something that is almost unheard of in other parts of the world. Germany alone has more than 1300 breweries selling more than 5000 different brands.
In certain bars and specialty markets, you have long been able to buy a limited selection of imported beers. But when you realize that a German Paulaner weissbier costs $25.000 pesos vs. the $3.000 pesos that you pay for a Poker, it does not take a rocket scientist to figure out that most Colombians opt for the local beer.
Luckily, there’s a little player trying to change this current market condition. Someone bold, trying to change the Colombian perception of beer.
Bogotá Beer Company was founded in 2002 by Berny Silberwasser – a man fed up with drinking boring beer in Colombia. A visit to the United States back in 1994 opened his eyes to the many amazing things possible by combining a bit of water, yeast, hops and barley.
What started as a tiny operation and a single brewpub now includes nation-wide distribution and 28 brewpubs – the latest of which is located in Barrio el Peñon in Cali – my favorite part of town!
Expect to find a selection of stable draft beers like the Premium Lager, Monserrate Roja, Chapinero Porter, Cajicá Honey Ale, Bacatá Blanca along with half a dozen other craft beers that vary by the season. Make sure to try the Septimazo IPA or the Chía Weiss if they’re in stock.
A menu featuring bar classics like nachos, burgers, chicken wings and the likes make sure you won’t have to leave your munchies unsatisfied.
To be honest, I’m happy to see BBC move into El Peñon right behind the new Sagrada Familia hotel project. It confirms my thesis that the Oeste sector of Cali is the place to be investing at the moment. New, trendy restaurants, cocktail bars, coffee shops, bakeries, and hotels keep popping up. It’s also where I, along with First American Realty, have decided to open our first apartment hotel – Villa del Peñon – due to open 3Q 2017.
BBC Jardín Cervecero
Carrera 3A # 3 Oeste – 49
Barrio El Peñon, Cali
Open from 4 PM
And by the way… If you’re a big fan of craft beer, make sure to check out 3 Cordilleras from Medellin and the Holy Water Ale Brewery from Buga. Like BBC, both offer a great selection of artisanal brews and are a godsend to all beer lovers in Colombia.