A Venezuelan brewer with German roots

Kilian de Fries has been making beer since he was 18 years old. His grandfather was a co-founder of “La Criolla” Brewery, which was one of the first Venezuelan breweries. Kilian was born in Venezuela but his ancestors were from Austria and Germany. Growing up, Kilian spent parts of his childhood in Germany. Therefore he is still very passionate about the German beer culture.
Kilian is an industrial engineer and has a MBA. And on top of that, he decided to study at the World Brewing Academy as well. When I asked him how it was starting his own business, he immediately answered that it was not easy in the beginning. He hardly made any money and the only thing that kept him going was his passion for beer.

Currently, Kilian is the master brewer at Tovar Brewery, which is one of the pioneer breweries in Venezuela. It was established in 1999 and is the only Venezuelan brewery that brews under the German beer purity law. Compared to the majority of breweries, Tovar is rather a larger brewery as it produces 18.000 liters of beer monthly. Not long ago, they decided to expand and they bought 15 tanks that carry 25.000 liters each. Kilian and his team dream about positioning Tovar Brewery in the national market and promoting the beer culture throughout the country.
At Tovar, they aim to produce beer that many Venezuelans are able to afford and enjoy, without losing the typical craft beer character. Kilian ensures that the majority of the raw ingredients and a lot of their equipment is imported from Europe, if possible from Germany.

Tovar has been selling four different types of beer: “Klar” – a light lager beer, a Pilsner, a wheat beer and a dark beer. My favorite is the “Pilsen” – the one Tovar is most famous for – since it was the first beer they made. Its yeast comes from one of the most important yeast banks in Germany. The beer at Tovar is pasteurized and some beer types are filtered. Still, they don’t use any kind of enzymes, clarifiers or stabilizers.

I wondered why Kilian decided to expand the brewery in times where Venezuela struggles with one of the highest inflation rates in the world. For Kilian, it is pretty obvious why: He believes in his country and giving up is not an option for him. He is still quite optimistic regarding the future of Venezuela. After all, as he puts it, entrepreneurs can only become stronger in times of a crisis.
Kilian is very grateful to be one of the few who found their passion at a very early age. Brewing beer means a lot to him and he cannot imagine doing anything different. His only concern right now is to be able to find someone who loves the process behind beer as much as he does. Therefore Kilian is still looking for a successor, someone he could hand over his brewing business, so the hard work he put into it, finally pays off.

Share on Pinterest

Christophe at 27. April 2017

With such a perfect filling level, a German bottling line is also used at the brewery ?

Hannah Arnal at 3. May 2017

No, it's not a German bottling line. Hope you enjoyed reading the article!

All (*) marked fields are mandatory fields