Who are you and your current job?
My name is Carlos Arrecubieta and I am the founder and head brewer of Bidassoa Basque Brewery
What was the inspiration behind your brewery?
Inspiration behind the brewery happened in New York, where I lived for 15 years and worked as a scientific researcher at the Columbia University and for a Biotech company.
I brewed as a hobby and then collaborated as a microbiological consultant for a brewery in New York, in exchange for learning different aspects of the business of running a microbrewery. In 2012 I had the idea of returning to the Basque Country to start my own business, and with the help of a life-long friend from my hometown, we pooled our savings together, I quit my job, returned to my hometown and opened Bidassoa Basque Brewery.
Our concept is two-ways: we first wanted to brew quality craft beers designed to appeal to a wider public. In this way, our first line of beers we're brewed to be very drinkable within their own styles. We wanted to get people who had never drunk craft beer before to get used to it and started learning and appreciating different beers without scaring them off with too strong flavors, bitterness, etc. so that their tastes could get used to hoppy beers and other styles not so usual in this area. On the other way, we also have an expanding range of beers brewed to appeal to people who are more familiar with the world of craft beer. We try to have a broad range of products, spanning many styles that we like. From Belgian strong ales to Imperial Stouts, Barrel aged beers, Hoppy Ales, etc.
Can you give us a tour of your beer scene?
The beer scene in our area is quite limited, although it has been growing for the last few years. In our area, there are a few craft beer bars with a good selection of local and imported beers and more and more bars and restaurants are including a few craft beers in their drink lists and menus.
We at the brewery also have a tap room where people come to try our beers and some other we brew for other brands. We think this has been a very important push to get people in our area to try them out.
What advice would you give to someone who wants to start a brewery?
I would tell them to plan their business with a cool head, make sure that they are ready and they have a good bunch of recipes that have been tested extensively (including homebrewing contests, etc.). It is very important to plan the size of your brewery (brewhouse, tanks, filling line, etc) and then prepare a good business plan. This is where the cool head comes in handy.
After this step. After you know you have the right stuff to do it, you have to be sure that you have the passion for it. It´s a great job, but only if you love it because it is a very tough job as well. If you are sure about it, then put all your heart and mind into it, and get ready for the trip!