The economy for local Ecuadorian beer has increased significantly in the last decade. Previously, most taverns, restaurants, and stores only stocked the two national brands – Club and Pilsener. Their main selling points were not their taste, but their cheap price. Each bottle costs about $1.50 a bottle.
By contrast, the average bottle of craft beer goes for about $4.00. Fans of craft beer are willing to pay the extra price, and manufacturers are meeting the demand. As the Ecuadorian newspaper “El Telegrafo,” reported, the industry has grown twenty times over annually since 2011. There are now 70 specialized brands on the market, which in total produce 3,420,000 liters, or 903,468 gallons of beer, per year.
And they often come with their own taverns. One of the most successful microbreweries in Quito is the Tex-Mex themed Bandidos Brewing. It’s housed in Quito’s historical district, in a colonial building with an old Spanish chapel. The bar features six distinct taps. Bandidos Brewing is not to be confused with Bandidos del Paramo, which serves a combination of German and Ecuadorian brews in Quito’s affluent northern district.
Laura Boada, along with her sister, Paulina, own and manage Quito’s all-women Zambo Creek. In 2015, this earned Laura a chance to apprentice with Seattle’s Fremont Brewing Company. As she told the nonprofit Pink Boots Society, which supports women brewers, “I do almost everything from the purchase of raw materials, equipment design, brewing, refinement and bottled of the final product. Also I am in charge of sales at fairs and festivals and I am supplier in bars in the city.”
Ecuador is now a major player in international brewing, In October of 2016, the country’s brewers won nine awards at the America’s Beer Cup in Chile in such categories as Irish Red Ale, Vegetable Beer, and Weizenbock. Sinners Brewery won for their coco-ginger Indian Pale Ale. Quito now hosts Ecuador’s own national competition, the Copa Cervecera Mitad del Mundo, or Middle of the World Beer Cup.