Martin Smetáček, managing partner of Czech Brewery Pivovar C.Ltda., says choosing Ecuador to build a Czech brewing made good business sense. “There’s very little competition here and we don’t expect any to show up,” he says, explaining that the difficulty of doing business in the country will keep competitors out.
Smetáček is one of seven Czech Republic natives who established a brewery and restaurant in Cuenca. The brewery, which can produce 200,000 liters of beer annually, is located in Ricaurte, in northeast Cuenca. The restaurant, Golden Prague Pub, is on Alfonso Cordero at Manuel J.Calle, a block north of the El Vergel Supermaxi.
Explaining his somewhat counter-intuitive reasoning for setting up shop in Cuenca, Smetáček says the heavy load of paperwork and red tape will keep most foreign brewers out of Ecuador. “If you go to Peru or Colombia, there are 200 competitors while there are almost none here,” he says, explaining that one reason is the difficulty foreigners have in bringing brewing equipment into the country.
Going into the brewing business comes naturally for Smetáček and his colleagues. “The Czechs are the largest beer consumers per capita in the world and we have a long tradition of brewing,” he says, adding that the Czech city of Pilsen is home to the modern beer industry. “We’d like to build a tradition in Ecuador.”
Smetáček says that Czech Brewery Pivovar C.Ltda. already produces world-class beer under the direction of brewmaster Tomas Fencl, whose product has won a number of awards in international competition. The brewery imports its raw materials from the Czech Republic but Fencl says the high quality of water in the Cuenca area is a critical ingredient.
According to Smetáček, he and his partners have invested $650,000 in the Golden Prague Pub and have hired 20 employees. “As we expand, we hope to hire 30 more,” he says. “We plan to open other pubs in Ecuador but Cuenca is our first.”
Credit: Information from article in El Mercurio.