The Brasserie de l’Ouest Guyanais makes craft beer using local products (only the malt, yeast, and hops, which are not produced in Guyana, are imported). They currently market two types of beer: a citrus-based lager and a darker beer with hibiscus flowers and ginger. Their beers are available on tap and in 75cl bottles. The brewery recycles champagne bottles, reusing them for their beers.
From advertising photographer to adult educator, teacher at the University of Guyana to e-learning project manager, Guylene Constable has known many different careers. The seed for this first project was planted in 2015, but it wasn’t until 2022 that it really took root. Her partner’s cousin is a master brewer in Belgium. Her first idea was to sell Belgian beer in Guyana, but a cost study revealed that there just wouldn’t be enough of a market and “it would end up too expensive”. With support from her friends and family, she decided to make her own beer and distribute it.
“My project came together really well, thanks to the support I got! Charline Nazaret, an adviser from France Active Guyane, didn’t just ask me to fill in a form. She guided me through the process and told me what people actually expected of me. Putting together an application file for a local authority isn’t the same as doing it for France Active. They really supported me, and the project has been a success.
I get a loan from Crédit Agricole, a guarantee from France Active, and support from the European LEADER programme. ”
She had to overcome a number of obstacles when she started up her business, not least an increase in prices. “During Covid, there was no production at all. When everybody got back to work however, it was difficult to find somewhere to brew. The one I’d chosen was only available in ten months, and I needed it in two. I had to change strategy, but this ended up being more expensive. What’s more, maritime freight costs had doubled! Little by little, I opened up new client opportunities: I was at the Salon de l’Agriculture, I was selected for the Made in France trade show, I’ll start selling beer in two Carrefour Contact in Guyana and a Mercure Hotel in Cayenne. I’ve made headway overseas too.
Also, we’re working on a new recipe. We’re going to run tests with restaurant clients in a few weeks.
It’s still early, but the results so far have been positive! And when things aren’t going so well, I’ve got my partner to help pick me back up. ”
Any advice for entrepreneurs?
“You need to hang on and be patient. One of the qualities you need to be an entrepreneur is tenacity. You also need to be able to take a step back and listen to your consumers. ”
Was supported by
France Active in Guyana