• • • Southern Hemisphere Award • • •
Saturday 21 October 2023
This article is from
10th Birthday Awards
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We have had the fortune of working with a plethora of fantastic Chilean breweries this year. The industry there is flourishing in line with the population’s growing interest in products that have grown and been made within Chile’s own borders. This evolution has been slow but steady, thanks to the powerhouse of talented people working across industries to connect consumers with beer that is exciting, high quality, fresh and local. Like many of the breweries we’ve worked with, the challenges faced by Hasta Pronto are uniquely Chilean, but the way the now seven-year-old, Santiago-based brewery addresses them contains lessons and values that are both universally valuable and relatable.
From the outset, Hasta Pronto prioritised collaboration with artists and musicians. Co-founder Tomás Ugalde says: “here in Chile, it’s super hard for artists to live off what they can make from their art. So we were like ‘we’re a brewery, we made beer and that’s super cool and we’re passionate about the product, but beer is a medium to make other things happen’. So nowadays, we have a Spotify page with original music made by some of the independent musicians we work with through our independent music label collaborators. We’ve made three albums so far, each with four original tracks, made in 2020, 2021, and 2023.”
Tomás says that in Chile, while alcohol consumption is quite high, Chileans for the most part drink at home, or will drink at home and then go out. But this isn’t just a cultural trend; most large public venues just won’t sell beer. “I guess the authorities are worried that in big spaces with lots of people moving around, things will get out of hand,” Tomás says. “That’s not the case everywhere, of course you still have bars and nightclubs that sell beer, and maybe some smaller venues will, but the chances are that if you go to a concert in Chile, you can’t have a beer.”
The obvious result of this, is that it’s difficult for beer producers to reach consumers, and introduce them to new experiences. Hasta Pronto’s way of addressing both the authorities' distrust of alcohol in public settings, and the chasm of missed opportunity this creates for artisanal producers, has been to collaborate with art and music institutions, by hosting pop-ups and events in and around their premises. For example, when I speak to Tomás, Hasta Pronto is just a day away from hosting a popup stand just outside Chile’s National Museum of Contemporary Art, with which the brewery has collaborated on a beer.
“The beer’s can has a white label, so on this occasion people can design their own can, but after this event, the beer’s label will showcase the work of various different artists. We’re holding a competition judged by our designer and a member of the museum’s team, so artists who submit their designs can feature on the label. We’ll rotate the labels every three months, so multiple different artists can feature over time.” Tomás continues, saying that this is a perfect example of the way Hasta Pronto likes to operate; “we always try to mix beer with culture and arts”.
Wherever Hasta Pronto goes, be it a tap takeover, or an open house at the brewery, Tomás says the team will always take friends who are artists, musicians or DJs with them. That’s not only because it’s exposure for the artists, but because “we want that to be how our customer experiences us; as part of something bigger than just the beer”. He says that locating beer within a culture that’s wide, diverse and inherently relatable, can also help people feel more comfortable about trying unfamiliar flavours.
“For most people, it’s much easier to try something new when you’re just here to listen to some music, or see some art. It’s super chill, and what’s more, we can sell our beer at a normal price at these kinds of events, because we’re not retailing through a bar, and aren’t competing with the price of macro products. If people want to taste the beer before they buy one, they can do that, and we can talk about it. If they want to try all five lines, that’s also possible when we’re in a face-to-face environment that’s all about connection.” While specialising in hoppy beers, Hasta Pronto remains accessible, welcoming, and eager to build an experience around beer.
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