At the moment Bulgaria is undergoing its own local beer revolution. It started around 2010 by home brewers all over the country who decided to look for an alternative to the regular lagers that were the only choice available at that time. Their guinea pigs at first where their families and close friends but soon the word spread like happy yeast in a wort. Apart from the big brands and a couple of brew pubs such as Pri Kmeta in Sofia (not working any more) and Luc’s in Tryavna (still up and running) there was not a single local micro brewery at that time.
Now beer lovers have a much bigger choice and the number of micro breweries is on the rise.
There are two types of players on the market. The first group consists of local micro breweries who brew their beer on their own premises using their own equipment, skills and knowledge. In the second group are the so called 'gypsy brewers' - companies not physically owning a brewery but paying other breweries to brew beer for them and then importing it into Bulgaria. What unites them is the desire to offer the customer a high quality beer with a unique touch. Because of its size the craft beer industry has the opportunity to experiment a lot. The sky is the limit. Beer with radish, plum or pumpkin ale, some with 'einkorn' or with loads of hops, some as dark as a black hole - the choice is yours. You name it and just order it right here and now in Bulgaria.
The first local micro breweries established in 2013 are the 359 Brewery near Sofia with its most popular brand 'Divo Pivo' (wild brew), together with Glarus Craft Brewing located near the city of Varna. They were soon followed by GB Craft Brewery in the suburbs of Sofia in Gorna Banya. The most popular 'gypsy brewers' currently are the White Stork Beer Co and Ailyak Beer. So where can you find these great craft beers?
In Sofia you can find them at Kanaal, Vitamin B and Beera - to name just a few.
You could also visit the 'Jägerhof' brewery pub in Plovdiv or 'The Brewery' in Burgas.
Or you can simply order online through 100beers.bg, beershop-bg.com or averibeers.com.
During the economic crisis, a few years ago, there was a popular joke in Bulgaria. "Come to Bulgaria - there is no crisis here since we are 10 years behind!" The same could apply to the craft beer sector. Bulgaria is far behind the booming craft beer market in the USA, but still we have plenty to offer and we are slowly catching up.