Brewing in Guanacaste
Three years after opening its doors as Costa Rica’s newest premier craft brewery, Brothers Of Ale Brewing is being well-served by all the entrepreneurial ingredients it takes to grow and thrive: a clear vision, patience, determination, resilience and hard work. Add to that a steadfast commitment to high product quality and customer satisfaction, plus a passion for giving back, and this remarkable Guanacaste success story keeps unfolding.
We are pleased to provide more details in this month’s cover story, and to share these highlights of our conversation with Brothers of Ale founder Alaks Thompson.
What brought you to this area to start your brewery?
In 2016, I was working in South America at the time and planning on the eventual Brothers Of Ale concept. I had been talking with my sister, who knew that I was leaning toward New Zealand and the Queenstown area, as I had such an unreal experience working and traveling in the country years before. However, my sister insisted I check out Costa Rica. At that time, it was scoring so high on the quality-of-life index. So I did. I spent about three months based out of Tamarindo, but traveling around the country. Later on in 2016, I bought my house and made the full-time move.
What were some of the general challenges you encountered?
“Costa Rica makes easy difficult and difficult easy.” That phrase never rang so true as it did when I found myself moving here and living a full-time life. It’s one thing to vacation here — everything is pura vida — but to live here and operate a business here, it takes patience and an understanding that you will not change Costa Rica — for the better or worse. Banks, government offices, utilities … you name it, they are infamous for long lines and not being well-organized. But it is in these challenges that the successful succeed.
I also found that by surrounding yourself with similar-minded people, and those who may have gone through the same processes before you, allow you to surge ahead and not let any roadblocks keep you down.
What is your customer base like and what are their experiences like at BOA?
When we opened at the start of COVID, our base was exclusively locals. I’d say that it took about a solid year of growing our reputation before we really started seeing tourists come in. We aren’t in downtown Tama or Potrero. So being a destination location, we had to hit our mark on quality and service, and I believe we are doing that. It’s a continual process, but with constant feedback and not settling for mediocrity, I think we have a pretty good stride.
And our customer reviews and feedback have allowed exponentially more people to come and seek us out. We hear pretty often, “So-and-so told us to come here and I’m so happy we did!” So word of mouth has allowed more locals and tourists to come check us out. Right now I’d say we are about 70% locals and 30% tourists.
Where do you get your product for your beer?
All of our materials are imported into the country. We do our best to maintain the highest quality ingredients and hold our providers to the same standard. While at times it can be a headache, this does allow us to have control over our materials and to ensure that we can always brew, and are not waiting on anyone. Unfortunately, Costa Rica doesn’t provide any of the commercial materials that we need — namely hops, malts and yeast — but we do source fruits for projects like our newly added Guanabana Cider.
How do you give back to the local community?
Giving back is a huge part of why I’m undertaking this project! Money comes and goes, but what is important is spreading love. That can be through the deliciousness in your glass or by seeing the smiles of the people and neighborhoods we actively help. Be it local beach cleanups or charity events like poker tournaments to raise funds for local causes, we are open to everything that allows us to give back. After all, it was the community that helped us not only survive COVID times, but to have grown.
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WHICH ONE OF YOU DID THIS??!!
Alaks was 3,500+ miles away on a snowboarding trip in the mountains of Utah (Snowbasin, January 2023). …Of the 11 total lifts (and hundreds of chairlifts) that he could have sat in, he sat in this one.. ONE WITH A @brothersofale STICKER ON IT!! Unbelievable moment and what it’s all about! Thank you for spreading the BOA love! (But seriously, who did this? You rock, and next round is on us)
Due to content, click to see on youtube (alcohol)
Like most brewers my dream started in the backyard of a friend’s house making home brew. Soon after, this growing passion for beverage alcohol production ignited, and I found myself making wine in central California- all while continuing to brew, learn, and refine the trade.
Fast forward through years spent gaining industry experience, studying yeast and fermentation science, brewing stellar beers and forcibly drinking not so good ones. Eventually, I felt the time had come to put my collective experience to the test.
From light lagers to medium bodied ales we offer a range of truly unique, balanced, and drinkable beers. Come find your new favorites! Discover why our beers are so good. LIke the selected malts, quality hops, special water, unique yeast, perennial recipes, and modern equipment. From the mashing to boiling, fermentation and package, BOA shows you the brewing process.
Our mission is driven by loving and respecting the ingredients we use, and it is fueled by a desire to improve and make our beers and our practices, better.
Our Brew Pub
At our taproom you can try our complete range of styles of beer while relaxing in our newly built outdoor patio, tasting area, and restaurant! Come kick back in our beer garden.
Located outdoors and undercover, the Clubhouse restaurant serves up quality dishes with options ranging from light to filling for the veggie-friendly and meat-craving!
Follow us on Facebook for live music, events and specials. From fresh-cut fries, buffalo wings, hamburgers, salads, tacos, pollo dishes, quesadillas, burritos, nachos and so much more.