Lucky us, Isaac Showaki, 27, Andrés Araya, 33, chose Chicago and partnered with brew connoisseur Randy Mosher, to launch the first Latino owned and operated microbrewery in the nation. Following its launch this past June, supply of 5 Rabbit beers is sold out for the next 3-4 months. They have crafted 3 beers aimed to match the strong range of Latino dishes: a golden ale (5 Rabbit), a Latin style witbier (5 Lizard), and a Oaxacan-style dark ale (5 Vulture).
Why the “5’s”? 5 Rabbit and the other Ahuiteteo (Aztec Deities) – 5 Flower, 5 Grass, 5 Lizard and 5 Vulture – bore the names of specific days in the Aztec calendar where cycles of day number 5 were associated with excess and loss of control. Issac tells us more about their new venture to help us drink up to the sake of the Aztecs- or at least imagine what their beer would be like.
What exactly makes your beers Latino?
Everything that we do is inspired by Latino culture and tradition. We’re having fun playing with the recipes and using Latino ingredients like Piloncillo and Chile ancho. We wanted to make a wheat beer that would go great with ceviche, shrimp, and pescado. Then we wanted to make a middle beer that would go great with tamales and tacos, and roasted chicken, then wanted to make a darker beer that would go great with rich foods like chorizo and mole.
“We wanted to make 3 beers that are could be paired with almost all-Latin food.”
We wanted to be the first Latin microbrewery in the US. There are some microbreweries in Mexico but there was nothing that was being operated by Latinos and Latino inspired with roots in the US. We wanted a city that had a great craft scene but that also had a young and growing Hispanic market. We had options to go to other cities, but once we visited Chicago, it made perfect sense to launch here.
Why focus a new brew with Latin America flavor and style?
We’re both from Latin America, I am from Guadalajara and Andrés is from Costa Rica. We have always felt that our beers in Latin America are so lacking, we wanted to do something about it – that’s when we came up with the idea to launch a microbrewery. At the beginning we wanted to do it in Latin America but after some research we discovered it was practically impossible to do it.
“Craft beer is still super young in Latin America, and the biggest problem is there are usually one or two breweries that have a monopoly of the entire industry. We didn’t want to be involved in that mess.”
What has been the response?
We just launched this summer, were very young and getting the word out. People so far have been very excited and loved the beer. We are sold out from our production for next 3 or 4 months. A lot of restaurants and bars want more beer supplied. We rather serve the places that are good instead of expanding too quickly. We have been very, very selective of where to begin. It’s been tremendous and really unexpected.
In November, look out for a Dia de Los Muertos specialty beer, for a full list of locations where you can snag the brew visit the 5 Rabbit website here.