Aran León, co-owner and head brewer at La Pirata Brewing (Barcelona)

Barcelona Beer Festival x Baron

Who are you and your current job?I'm Aran Leon, Co-owner and Head Brewer at La Pirata Brewing (Barcelona).


 What was the inspiration behind your brewery? Our aim is to brew world class incendiary beers. Tired of drinking crappy and boring industrial lager, I decided to start brewing myself as a homebrewer. It's been 12 years.since that first brew.


At the very beginning the beer was just “drinkable” but over time, it became more than that. After some years experimenting, I decided to start brewing like a professional as a gypsy brewer.


That way of brewing allowed me to start checking the craft beer scene (at that time, in Spain, it was incipient) and I was able to learn some skills and get to know a lot of wonderful people. But being a gypsy has some problems; the most important one is that you don't have complete control of the whole brewing process and, therefore, of the quality of the final product. Because of that, in 2015 I decided, with three more partners (family, in the end), to start our own brewery. The opening party was in October 2015.


Can you give us a tour of your beer scene?

The craft beer scene in Spain has risen very fast in the last 4 years. The boom materialized in about 400 new breweries and a lot of craft beer bars and bottled beer shops. However, most of the breweries are very small, producing less than 10hl per batch. Maybe for that reason, in most pubs, most of the beers on tap are from outside Spain and it's also perhaps why we are exporting about 60% of our production.Our goal now is to convince costumers that we are brewing a quality beer that's super fresh.


What advice would you give to someone who wants to start a brewery?Being a gypsy for about 4 years, as I told before, was an opportunity to check how the market reacted to my recipes and ideas. I think it’s a good way to start. I would also think about what can I offer that is different. Am I going to specialize in a beer type? Am I going to be super local? Or am I looking for quite a big brewery and compete by price? At the end of the day, craft beer is not only a passion but also a business.