Brewing Business Galapagos With Golden Prague

Beers, Business & Galapagos with Golden Prague: An Interview with Martin Smetáček

While our focus is primarily on the vibrant city of Cuenca, Ecuador, today we’re taking a little detour to the stunning Galapagos Islands. On our visit, we had the pleasure of catching up with Martin Smetáček, the owner of Golden Prague Pub & Restaurant, which has grown to become Ecuador’s largest micro-brewery with six locations across the country. Join us as we dive into a conversation with Martin about his journey into the world of brewing and business, and how he’s making a mark in Ecuador.


Martin Smetáček, hailing from the Czech Republic, embarked on a journey that would lead him to the shores of Ecuador. In 2005, he first set foot on the Galapagos Islands as a tourist, little knowing that destiny had other plans for him in this enchanting country. His educational background was in diplomacy and international relations, a world away from what he would ultimately pursue.

The Brewing Adventure

Why beer, you might ask? Martin’s answer is simple: because beer is a way of life in the Czech Republic, the world’s biggest beer consumer. They also happen to be the birthplace of the lager beer, with the style originating in Pilsen in 1842. Martin had a deep understanding of beer as a consumer, and when he saw the friendly legal landscape for beer production in Ecuador in 2015, the seeds of Golden Prague were sown. In 2017, they began brewing beer in Cuenca.

Building a Team

The journey started with a group of seven friends and colleagues, all with Czech roots. Today, the team has expanded to nine members, each contributing their unique expertise. There’s a brew master, a chef, a finance expert, and even a construction specialist. Interestingly, some key members, like the brew master and chef, are based in the Czech Republic, highlighting the international collaboration behind Golden Prague.

Challenges and Successes in the Ecuadorian Beer Market

Ecuador’s beer landscape was largely dominated by giants like Budweiser when Martin arrived. There was a small community of homebrewers, but microbreweries were virtually non-existent. Golden Prague set out to change that, bringing the concept of microbrewing to Ecuador, producing high-quality beer in smaller quantities. Today, they proudly claim to be the largest in the Ecuadorian market with their range of brews.

Brewing Process and Ingredients

The brewing process is crucial to achieving the high standards Golden Prague sets for its beer. While they initially imported malt from the Czech Republic, they eventually found that Chile produced excellent Pilzen malt, which was more accessible. Hops, especially Saaz hops, essential for lager beer, continue to be sourced from the Czech Republic. They also import hops from the United States for other types of beer.

Golden Prague’s Signature Beers

Martin’s confidence shines through when discussing their beers. While they produce various types, it’s their lager that takes the spotlight. Their traditional Czech serving style, with a generous layer of foam and cold, humid glasses, sets them apart. Martin believes they have the best lager in South America, and he’s not shy about it. Their commitment to quality and tradition is evident in every sip.

Cuenca’s Evolving Food and Drinks Scene

Initially, Golden Prague focused on beer and simple food, but they quickly realized that food was essential to complement their brews. However, introducing Czech cuisine in Ecuador didn’t quite hit the mark. Ecuadorians had their preferences, and Golden Prague adapted by offering traditional Ecuadorian land and ocean food, successfully merging international and local flavors.

Appealing to a Diverse Audience

One of Golden Prague’s standout features is its ability to attract a diverse clientele. Families, tourists, locals, judges, and even indigenous people find a place at their tables. Their family-friendly environment, complete with a playground, has been instrumental in drawing a wide audience, making them a staple in Cuenca’s food and drinks scene.

The Galapagos Venture

Taking the concept of tailoring to the local market further, Golden Prague established “The Post Office” in Galapagos. With a tourist-centric approach, this unique venue allows visitors to send postcards that will be delivered with a delay of a few months, given Ecuador’s postal limitations. It’s a creative way to connect with the adventurous spirit of the islands.

Advice for Expats and Business Owners

For those considering moving to Ecuador or opening a business, Martin offers valuable advice: embrace the local culture and its idiosyncrasies. Ecuador is different from North America or Europe, and success often hinges on understanding and adapting to these differences. It’s about playing by Ecuador’s rules, not your own.

Expansion Plans

Golden Prague’s success has pushed their brewery to near-maximum capacity. To meet growing demand, they plan to expand and explore new markets. Peru is on their radar, and they are poised to take their Czech-inspired brews to new territories.

Wrapping Up

In conclusion, Martin Smetáček’s journey from the Czech Republic to Ecuador is a testament to the power of passion, collaboration, and adaptability. Golden Prague Pub & Restaurant, with its exceptional beer and diverse clientele, has made its mark in Ecuador. As you consider your own adventures, Martin’s advice echoes loud and clear: embrace the culture, adapt, and raise a glass of Golden Prague beer to the beauty of Ecuador.

Cheers to more stories and brews to come!

Golden Prague Links

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