Colombia, a nation known for its tumultuous history marred by decades of conflict, is witnessing a transformation. In the heart of Bogotá, a craft brewery co-founded by former members of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) emerges as a symbol of reconciliation. This endeavor, led by ex-guerrilla members, is not just about brewing beer; it’s a step towards a harmonious future.
In 2019, a grant and scholarships offered an opportunity for individuals like Doris Suárez to explore a different future. Suárez, who had spent 14 years behind bars for her affiliation with FARC, understood the difficulties ex-guerrillas encountered when seeking employment in the wake of the peace agreement.
From Ex-Guerrilla Fighters to Craft Brewers
La Trocha, the brewery co-founded by Suárez and ten other former combatants, embarked on a journey into the world of craft brewing. Their flagship creation, Coromoro, with its rich malt notes, subtle coffee undertones, and hints of citrus, is a tribute to the Colombian landscapes that once witnessed their struggle.
In 2020, La Trocha took a further step by establishing “La Casa de la Paz” (the house of peace) in Bogotá. This cultural establishment features a three-story structure adorned with graffiti and posters advocating peace and justice. Inside, visitors find a bar, gallery, auditorium, and co-working space.
La Casa de la Paz’s mission transcends brewing; it serves as a platform for various events, film screenings, and guided tours, educating visitors about Colombia’s violent past and its arduous journey toward peace. The center also showcases products crafted by ex-combatants and conducts workshops for children, emphasizing the importance of understanding their country’s history.
Today, La Trocha produces six distinct beers in Bogotá, distributed across the capital and five other cities. La Fariana, their latest creation launched in November, symbolizes their journey, featuring a dove and a resting rifle on its label. For Suárez and her comrades, the brewery has breathed new life into their existence, offering them a reason to face each day with purpose and hope.