Craft Beer in the Dominican Republic

It doesn’t exist!  Image I just came back from a family trip to the land of my ancestors, the Dominican Republic aka la Quisqueya aka Santo Domingo. (What you shouldn’t call it is in the footnotes below. Take heed, my friends!) Image I spent a full week consuming the pride of DR, Presidente. If you are not familiar with Presidente, it’s a lager brewed in the style of an (tasteless) American Adjunct Lager. Fill the bottle with Coors Light or Bud Light and you probably couldn’t fool a Dominican octogenarian who has been consuming this bad boy for decades. Presidente, like its distant relative Heineken, comes in a green bottle. I spent the majority of my time drinking 22 oz bombers of this stuff, although 12 oz bottles are also available. I won’t bother with a detailed analysis of the flavor profile of Presidente. The fact that it needs to be served nearly frozen to fully enjoy is testament enough. Once it warms up, it truly tastes like crap. It’s usually above 85 degrees Fahrenheit all year round, so it’s best to drink the beer ice cold. Certain stores take pride in serving the bottles laced with ice – You just have to ask for “una vestida de la novia,” a white wedding dress. (So cute!) Here’s Beer Advcoate’s rating. Give us Dominicans a break, beer geeks!   Image Image It’s a pretty bold statement to declare there is no craft beer in the entire country, I know. Mind you, I didn’t scour the island (the Dominican half) looking for craft beer bars, craft breweries, or bottle shops.  I didn’t even ask my primos and tias in DR about the prevalence of home brewers in the country. Trust me, craft beer just doesn’t exist en la Quisqueya. Presidente, and to a lesser extent Bohemia, both have beer consumption on lock. There are a few other beers available in DR, but they are not widely distributed. I didn’t see them at all while I was there. The variety of beers below are nearly all brewed by Cervecería Nacionál Dominicana (Grupo León Jimenes), which is majority owned by InBev since 2012. It’s nearly impossible to find another beer style apart from a Pale Lager (American Adjunct Lager). The “best beers of dominican republic (sic)” – There has to be irony at play here?!?  Image The one exception, which seems to be independently owned, is Cerveceria Vegana which churns out Cerveza Quisqueya and Cerveza Soberana. I have a feeling, though, that their production has been severely limited or they are currently closed. (If someone can confirm this, please let us know.) Unfortunately, one of Cerveceria Vegana’s flagship beers got slammed on RateBeer.com. It’s actually quite an entertaining read: Image

Before the trip, I had daydreams of meeting a home brewer somehow or stumbling upon a bar or restaurant that at least served Dogfish Head or Sam Adams. It never happened. There is a glimmer of hope, though. After I came home, I found this spot while doing some web research:


The bar/restaurant claims to have a variety of craft beer on their website. Sadly, I checked their website today, and it’s offline. I hope it’s just a server issue. The one possibility for craft beer in the entire country needs to stay open. I plan to pay them a visit during my next family trip. My wife posed an interesting question while we were out there – Could a craft brewery fare well in the Dominican Republic or are the Dominican masses happy enough with their American Adjunct Lager called Presidente? Craft beer seems to be growing in other Latin American countries. There has to be hope en la Quisqueya. Image






If you want to piss off a Dominican, refer to the country as “The Dominican” minus the Republic.