Agility a Key Component to La Pirata’s Success

International Insights is a continuing series of Q&As with brewing members, but this time branching outside of the US and into the rest of the world.
In this series, Brewer will share personal insights from international breweries each week about the craft beer market in other countries, where those brewers get their inspiration, and how the market compares to craft beer in the US.

Aran León, Head Brewer/founder, La Pirata — Súria, Spain

BREWER: What can you tell me about the history of your brewery? How has your business strategy evolved to help grow and stay competitive?
LEÓN: We have three different phases on our project. For a long time (eight years) La Pirata was a homebrewing passion until 2012 when we brewed our first batch as cuckoo brewery. After three years of growing, in 2015 we opened our own brewery in our little town Suria. (60 km north of Barcelona). Our strategy has always been to focus on the beer. Brew the best beers possible. This “easy” trick drives us to be considered one of the best breweries of our country.

BREWER: What are the popular beers at your brewery, and how do they compare to the popular styles in your country?
LEÓN: We are really eclectic on our portfolio. We are well-known for our hoppy beers and at the same time our flagship, No. 1 on Untappd Spain, is Black Block, an Imperial Stout aged in Bourbon Barrels. We also have a sour program. And we brew an awesome Pils that we play with different dry hops. We dance with all the musics.” 🙂

BREWER: Who is your mentor in the industry and why? What have you learned from them?
LEÓN: I discovered homebrewing by a good friend, Jordi. Several years later, he became the Head Brewer of ‘Cerveses Montseny,’ another amazing craft beer project. We have grown together in this beer world and he is still the first that I phone when I have questions.

BREWER: What idea did you or your team come up with lately that has been a big benefit to how your brewery functions?
LEÓN: We have incorporated AGILE methods and tools to have a ‘project orientation’ on our daily functions. Creating this kind of projects, with regular short meetings oriented to continued improvement, has given a lot of benefits, especially on implication and satisfaction of all the team.

BREWER: How has COVID-19 affected your country and your brewery, and how have you had to adapt to restrictions and safety concerns while still being able to produce and sell beer?
LEÓN: We were on a complete lockdown for three months until June. We had created an online shop two year ago, so the online channel has saved us (more or less). Summer was quite good but for the last four months bars and restaurants have a really small schedule to be opened. It is really hard to keep moving.

BREWER: If you had one business strategy that you could implement to better the brewing industry in your country, what would it be?
LEÓN: We need to create the legal coverage for taprooms. Nowadays licenses depend on local governments that never have heard about it. Beer is about local, about community, and we need to be closer than ever to our people.

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