Who are you and your current job?
We are Jose and Jabi Ortega, two brothers passionated for the beers and for the art of brewing and GAR&GAR DONOSTIA is our dream, our passion….and later our job
What was the inspiration behind your brewery?
To know the origin of GAR&GAR DONOSTIA microbrewery, we have to go to 2007 when two brothers Jose and Jabi Ortega, lovers of good beers and knowers of American Craft Beer Revolution, thanks to their frequent visits to the United States, decide to start as homebrewers in San Sebastian.
Like most of the homebrewers, they walked all the steps (kit home brewer, all-grain…etc.) and their beers become to know and appreciated in their neighbor. After these firsts experience brewing they start reading and learning about different techniques of brewing, fermentation and about influence and importance of each raw material in the brewing and they experience all this at home.
Craft Beer Revolution arrives in Spain via Barcelona and Catalonia, where firsts microbreweries open and first Craft Beer Festivals start. Barcelona is the frequent destination for Ortega brothers to visit microbreweries, Beer Festivals, to know suppliers and meet very interesting people. At Christmas 2011, brothers leave their jobs and decide to start making reality their dream: Recover brewing tradition to San Sebastian, lost in 1982, opening their own microbrewery.
They rented an old house for 6 months in order to follow learning (always is necessary to learn!) and developped their own technique and recipes. The name of this house was IBAI ALDE (next to the river in Basque language), name choosen for the company a few months later. After six months working and thinking in craft beer 24 hours/day, they make a Business Plan and with the help of some 3F partners (Fools, Friends and Family), IBAI ALDE GARAGARDOTEGIA S.L. company was born 28th September 2012, with the same spirit of the rented old house in a place also next to the river, and the character 100% from San Sebastian, because they use the same water as the San Sebastian’s people drinks; and dream came true. In 2013 firsts GAR&GAR DONOSTIA’s beers, brewed in IBAI ALDE- SAN SEBATIAN’s Microbrewery were drunk for San Sebastian’s people!.
From the first days, the policy of GAR&GAR DONOSTIA is very clear and firm policy.-Only use first quality raw materials in order to only brew first quality beer.-Stock as minimum beer as possible in order to ship younger (greener) beer as possible to our clients (always after good second fermentation made in our storage ripening room, of course), except for aged beers.-Respect, cooperation and help in all of possible to our dealers/distributors in order to establish a long term business relationship serious, honest and profitable for both, and listen and follow suggestions taken from their markets. GAR&GAR DONOSTIA brews Basque Beer with character and personality, as Basque people, to make enjoy people for whole around the world!
Can you give us a tour of your beer scene?
Our local craft beer scene is now on fire. We are the only one brewery in San Sebastian, but in 30 km we can find 6 more breweries (Basqueland Brewing Project, Bidassoa Basque Brewery, Mala Gissona…etc) with a very good and well-recognized beer. Basque Country is now one of the most interesting places in the Spanish Craft Beer Scene. We are also working together with Basque Government in order to have first quality Malt and hops from Basque Country looking to be able to brew a real basque beer.
What advice would you give to someone who wants to start a brewery?
It’s a hard decision and probably you will have really hard moments but if it’s really your passion, do it!