When Soledad Cariac had her first child, she had to completely reorganise her family life. What she wanted was to combine work at home with bringing up her children. This was then simultaneously the birth of a family project of marked originality. And if you’re now thinking about cooking and changing nappies, then you couldn’t be more wrong.
We’re talking about a project of a kind hitherto unprecedented in the Argentinian rural area of Sierra de los Padres, about km away from Mar del Plata: a family-owned brewery that bears the name of “Seymour“ and is dedicated to producing craft beer.
It was more or less precisely eight years ago that Soledad Cariac launched her project together with her husband. Her parents, too, have given her unstintingly effective assistance, and indeed are still doing so, whenever there’s a need for some DIY work or childcare.
“The first two years could best be described as a kind of experimental phase. Soon, however, people from the region were so taken with our idea that they encouraged us to market our beer officially as well,” recalls Soledad.
For her company project she benefited particularly from the knowledge she already possessed, particularly in the food and yeast sectors. She had already worked, you see, in the quality control department of a company that operated in the food sector. During this time, she gained valuable experience in terms of production, business management and in HACCP (Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Points) and attended courses on beer production.
“Thanks to ‘Seymour’, I’m always pleasantly challenged to expand and deepen my knowledge, and at the same time I have an opportunity to enjoy a huge range of different craft beers. Which I naturally enough appreciate,” relates Soledad with a grin.
The world of brewing has since then cast its spell over her. “I want to continually upgrade my knowledge of this field, exchange mutual feedback with other colleagues, hold courses with them on a variety of subjects, and lots, lots more,” relates an enthusiastic Soledad. The most important thing for her, always, is to improve her beer.
When it comes to choosing their favourite beers from all over the world, the clan concurs: Belgian beers are right at the top of the family’s popularity ratings! So it’s hardly surprising that the family firm brews its own beers on the basis of Belgian recipes. And this has been exceptionally well received by the populace of Sierra de los Padres! Full of pride, Soledad tells us that in her Seymour Brewery they produce litres a month. “And demand for our ‘Seymour’ is set to rise over the years ahead,” she says confidently. Sounds like a rosy future for the family’s amber nectar!
Even though they are highly successful with their craft beer project, they remain true to their roots: “We sell the majority of our craft beers in and around Sierra de los Padres. That’s always been the case, and that’s the way it’s going to stay in the future. We want our product to be associated with this Argentinian region, and that’s why we’re concentrating quite deliberately on local demand.”
And besides management, production and marketing, they now aim to target the tourist market. The family had long since noticed that tourism is meanwhile playing a significant role in Sierra de los Padres, which is why they want to render their brewery attractive for travellers from near and far “We would like to offer guided tours of the brewery and beer tastings so that people can experience hands-on how our craft beer is produced. To sum it up: we aim to provide insights into our corporate philosophy for the people who are interested in our beer and our brewery. We should like to tell you what’s behind the name of ‘Seymour’”, explains Soledad. The name was not chosen at random: it’s a tribute to the English farmer John Seymour. “We were inspired by his bookThe Self-Sufficient Life and How to Live It, in which one chapter also deals with the brewing of craft beer,” reveals Soledad.
Craft beer is meanwhile gaining plenty of fans in Argentina, and attracting progressively more attention. Starting from Patagonia and Córdoba Province, craft beer scene is really starting to grow. In Mar del Plata, too, craft beer breweries and brewpubs are proliferating – it’s no accident that the city in the south-east of Argentina was voted its craft beer capital. And the Cariac family and their “Seymour” Brewery are right in the thick of it. Looks like some rather successful family planning, wouldn’t you say?