5 Questions with Cerveza Zólupez Beer Company’s Founder, Javier Chavez Jr.
A promising craft beer scene is budding in Ogden, Utah, just a quick 45 minutes north of Salt Lake City. As the concentration of breweries grows in the valley, this northern destination continues to provide an enjoyable day trip for beer fans. Last August, Javier Chavez Jr. put his hat in the ring when he opened up shop with Cerveza Zólupez Beer Company. Offering creative beverages designed to be experienced with Mexican food, the cerveza options have a bit of antiquity. Beers with traditional ingredients found in Mexican culture are brewed with “the soul of Mexico,” and often reflect the history of his family.
Cerveza Zólupez is an extremely small-batch, artisanal craft beer establishment. It is important to follow Chavez on social media because when he is ready to release a new beer, it is posted– and often sold out quickly.
How has your passion for great Mexican food influenced the type of beer you brew?
It’s all about familia, food, and cerveza. Each Zólupez beer we brew are flavored with spices, chilies, herbs, or some kind of ingredient that was used in the traditional Mexican food I grew up with. I came from a Mexican family where cooking food was a multi-day event–so luckily I have lots of experiences to draw from! LOL. Our beers are directly inspired by our family experiences with food. From the piloncillo (brown cane sugar) my mom used to bake with, to the manzanilla (chamomile) herbs my abuela used for good health, to the chile peppers my family spiced every dish with.
We at Zólupez find ways to carefully and creatively flavor the beers, ensuring the particular grain bill, hops, water, and yeast harmonizes with the specialty ingredients. (It took years to formulate our Mexican style beer recipes.) Keep in mind, we’re proud to be an American-brewery based in the USA, yet honoring the heritage of Mexican ancestors through our beers.
How has the public reacted to a small batch Mexican-style brewery?
Excitement, amazement, surprise. We’ve been very, very fortunate that the people have over-willingly supported our Zólupez brewery. From all communities, Anglo-Americans, Latinos, LGBTQ, and other diverse groups; we’re very grateful. It motivates us to work hard to come up with more creative and fun cervezas! We’re Utah’s first and only Latino-owned brewery (one of a handful in the U.S.). We’re honored to add ethnic diversity to this industry.
Do you have any fond memories of Cinco de Mayo’s past in association with beer?
Si, claro. There’s a famous Mexican song called “El Rey,” which means “The King.” The song’s theme is basically that every person is the king of their own castle, no matter how poor or hard life is. Very Inspiring. El Rey is sung at every fiesta, at Cinco de Mayo, or any get together–all the time. I can remember when that song is played, everyone stands up, grabs their lager cervezas, and sings along in unison. We’re all united, all brothers and sisters at that moment–singing and sipping cerveza in between lyrics.
Because Zólupez is a super small batch brewery, will it be difficult to have beer ready for Cinco de Mayo?
We’re working very hard to make sure we have cervezas leading up to Cinco de Mayo, but good things come in small batches.
What is up next for Cerveza Zólupez Beer Company?
Big News: We’re working on a cross-border collaboration beer!!! It’s a dream come true for us. We’re going to brew one of our Zólupez beers in Mexico, bottle it, then import that cerveza across the border to share with our fans here in America. A 100% authentic Mexican-made craft cerveza. Finally, a legit craft alternative to the massed produced imported beers. Very excited!
More info to follow on our social media and website www.Zólupez.com
Chris & Sylvia are a #craftbeercouple who love everything beer! Check them out on Instagram @chrishollands & @sylily.