Cervecería Centro Americana, S.A. came into existence in 1886, out of the initiative and dedication of founding brothers, Mariano and Rafael Castillo Córdova. In the early years, the company’s operations were located on 5a avenida and 12 calle, where the Herrera building can be found today. After that, it moved its offices to 4a avenida and 19 calle, to an area locally known as El Botellón, then, due to lack of space, they moved once again to 7a avenida No. 46, between 13 and 14 calles in zone 1, where they would remain until their final move to the piece of land known as Finca El Zapote (El Zapote farm). During this period, the Castillo Córdova brothers made important investments with the purpose of industrializing the beer making process. Gradually, they would modernize the process with the aim of converting a small-scale artisanal art into a formal industry, by insisting on proving the purity and quality of their products. To this end, on March 6, 1899, they requested that the Laboratorio de la Casa Nacional de Moneda, (National Mint Laboratory), a dependency of the Ministerio de Hacienda y Crédito, (previous equivalent to the Department of the Treasury), carry out a chemical analysis of their beers. The outcome of the analysis turned out to be outstanding, a quality that the company has maintained to this day.

In 1885, the Supreme Government of the time grants the company permission to industrially produce beer. That same year, the first master brewers arrive from Germany. Three years later, Finca El Zapote is acquired and construction of its new facilities began on July 6, 1889, meeting all of the beer industry’s technical requirements of the time. It is in 1896 that Cervecería Centro Americana launches unto the market what would henceforth become its leading product, Gallo beer. Construction on the emblematic entry portico takes place from the end of the nineteenth century through early years of the twentieth century. In recent years it has been declared a National Cultural Heritage.


It was not until 1902 that the company began producing simple beer in barrels. One year later, the filling and corking section was inaugurated, on that same year, the company added to its product line Fraile beer, a beer in pitcher, as well as soft drinks offered under the brand name Chibolas. In 1907, Salvator brand is launched, the following year it launched Marzen beer offering different types: Dunckles, Helles and Munich Super Fine. With public satisfaction in mind, Pílsener beer was launched in 1911.

In 1915, Cervecería Centro Americana, S.A. is recognized for its different beers, it is the recipient of the gold medal at the Panama-Pacific International Fair, organized on the occasion of the opening of the Panama Canal. After the earthquakes of 1917-1918, the company lends support to many of the victims, thus beginning a long tradition of aid during natural disasters that continues to this day.


The company’s gradual growth has been noticeable since the very beginning. By 1922, the brewery had 500 employees, and that same year it launched Sol beer. Two years later, it launched yet another brand, Extra Pale, produced until 1950. By that year, the second generation takes managing control of the company. The year 1925 becomes a memorable one, as the company innovates in the technological field by installing Nathan fermentation tanks, allowing the company to increase its production. By 1927 it establishes a year-end bonus for all of its employees, making it the first company in the country to establish a series of employee benefits, long before they were required by law. During the time of the U.S. Great Depression, in 1929, the brewery acquires Cervecería Nacional de Quetzaltenango, expanding their production capacity and distribution of its products throughout the country. The following year, the company inaugurated its new brewing house and fermentation tanks.


In 1934, following recent investments in equipment, the company is able to launch a number of different beer brands including, Príncipe Estudiante, Moza, Oro, El Castillo and León. On that same year, the task of fabricating new boilers fell upon a company called R. Wolf from the city of Magdeburg, Germany. Machinery for the preparation of the broths were supplied by J.A. Hartmann and Co. of Offenbach; the barrels came from M.B. Bodenheinn of Cassel; the electrical motors from Siemens & Hadskes (Berlin); machinery was supplied by a company called Maschinefabrik of Augsburg. With the help of this equipment, the new ice factory was constructed, being attached to Cervecería Centro Americana, S.A., it was able to supply ice to small and large commercial outfits within the city. El Zapote had its own dairy ranch, with which, from 1935 until the end of the 1940’s, it complied with community service, by supplying milk to under-privileged children under the motto: “The drop of milk from the moon of el Zapote.”

In 1936, new Wolf boilers were installed, and on March 3 of that same year, the company decided to build the Santa Delfina de Signé Chapel to commemorate its 50th Anniversary. By the following year, the company began making contributions in support of sports development and the Castillo Soccer Club is established.


After World War II, in 1946, the brewery established itself as a corporation (sociedad anónima). The following year, an extra 15-day salary is again granted to all company employees and medical services were expanded. In 1949, the services of Schwartz Laboratories Inc. were engaged to analyze the raw materials used in the brewing process as well as the final product, additionally, in the same year a new bottling machine was installed.

In 1950, a new beer brand was released onto the market: Monte Carlo. The beer’s name was decided through a contest. On November 5th of that same year, the Chapel of Santa Delfina de Signé was blessed and inaugurated, and the annual tradition of holding a shepherd’s play (pastorela) during Christmas time began. In 1957, the brewery separated the responsibilities of beer production and distribution, thus creating, on January 10th, Central Distribuidora, S.A, a new autonomous entity charged with the distribution of beer and carbonated beverages throughout the country. On that same year, a new and highly modern bottling plant was inaugurated with the capacity to fill and cap up to 550 bottles per minute, making it the sixth plant of its type in the world, and the first in Central and South America.

For its installation, the brewery acquired machinery from Geoj Manufacturing Co. of Milwaukee. On April 30th of 1957, the collective labor agreement between the brewery and its employees was signed, effective May 1 of that same year. Due to its spirit and regulatory content, the agreement exceeded in many aspects the governing Work Code, reflecting upon the company’s social sensibility. That same year the company also began to sponsor Guatemala’s Cycling Tour.


In 1967 Gallo continued to uphold its quality around the world. Gallo won the Gold Medal granted by Monde Selection (Brussels) over two consecutive years (1967-68), a recognition that would be repeated in following years. The company’s growth and diversification over the course of 1969 prompted the brewery’s Board of Directors to approve the “project development plan”, conceived in two stages: the first planned for the period between 1969-1974, and the second, which included the expansion of its facilities, over the period 1975-1978. The program entailed 41 projects all together, including civil engineering works (buildings, boulevards, etc.), acquisition of machinery and equipment to modernize beer bottling, packaging and storage up to its distribution.


In 1972, the Governing Board coined the slogan: “We believe, trust and invest in Guatemala.” With the purpose of encouraging confidence in the brand among Guatemalans and the brewing industry in general, the company launched the slogan: “Save, take care and protect what is yours.” The campaign was recognized with the Kin de Oro in 1972, year in which this advertising campaign was created, appealing to nationalistic sentiments. After the San Gilberto earthquake in 1976, in light of massive and widespread destruction, Cervecería Centro Americana took charge of reconstruction efforts in San MartÍn Jilotepeque and handed over the completed efforts in November of 1979. That same year, Gallo beer becomes available in disposable aluminum cans for the first time.

In 1980, the company equipped its facilities with two modern filling areas with the capacity to bottle over 455 liters of liquid, automatically, at a rate of 1,300 bottles per minute. Taking advantage of this, Cervecería Centro Americana begins to expand and seek out new markets to showcase their product. In 1983 the company’s export department is created using preliminary research on the necessary procedures to be able to export the Guatemalan beer. The first target in the United States market was the State of Texas. In 1982, the brewery is again recognized with the Gold Medal, awarded by Monde Selection, during the XXI World Beer Selection. On October 4, 1984, in Madrid, during the annual 23rd edition of the Monde Selection International Contest, organized by the International Institute for Quality Selections based out of Brussels, Belgium, Monte Carlo became the only beer of the Americas to be awarded a diploma and a Grand Gold Medal.


In 1985, the brewery commemorated Christmas by establishing the Gallo Christmas Tree. The event became an annual tradition of celebration for year-end festivities in Guatemala City. On February 3, 1986, Cervecería Centro Americana celebrated its 100th anniversary, making it the oldest industry in the country. That year also marked an important innovation milestone for the brewery, due to the provision of the new automatic bottling system with the capacity to bottle 1,300 bottles per minute, the company was able to surpass its sales record.

In 1990, the Castillo Córdova Foundation was created, further institutionalizing relations with different sectors of the community, with whom there had been a long-standing relationship since the nineteenth century. During 1995, the company initiated, in the packaging section of its facilities, the personnel update program called Óptima, based on the elements of client service and continuous improvement. In 1996, Gallo brand celebrated 100 years of history and its evolution continued. The beer’s label was redesigned and different innovative presentations were launched unto the market. That same year, the “brewery worker day” was established.


In early 2001, the dedication and coronation of the Blessed Virgin of the Rosary of Santa Delfina de Signé chapel took place. Guatemala City’s archbishop, Mons Próspero Penados del Barrio, had previously approved the act on November 5, 2000. On that same year, the Mariano and Rafael Castillo Córdova Foundation, created the “Castillo Order” with a decoration in the grades of Grand Collar and Grand Cross, to pay tribute to exemplary people who have made important contributions in benefit of Guatemala. Later, in 2004, the current brewing house was inaugurated with the latest brewing technology in the region. On that same year, Gallo was chosen to be a part of the Hall of Fame of big brands, the first to be elected amongst other beers of the Americas, placing it alongside the world’s biggest brands. On May 24, 2005, the “Museo Bodegas del Siglo XIX” (19th Century Cellars Museum) was inaugurated, the first industrial museum in Central America.

In 2007, as an affirmation of its quality and adherence to environmental conservation standards, Cervecería Centro Americana obtained the BS OHSAS 18001 recognition in 2007 effective March 11, 2012. In 2008, the brewery was certified with ISOS 9001-2008, and ISOS 9001-2009 the following year. In 2010, the company commemorated the Gallo Christmas tree’s 25th Anniversary.


On the occasion of celebrating its 125th anniversary, Cervecería Centro Americana, S.A. keeps intact its historic commitment to participate and actively support those programs to deal with the major challenges facing Guatemala in the social area. In this regard, the May 13, 2012 Cervecería Centro Americana, SA, through its social arm, Castillo Cordova Foundation, gave the starting signal to Microcuenca Tzununá Project, with the vision of creating a model of integrated community development, replicable and self-sustainable, culturally relevant targeted the villages of Tzununá, Pajomel, Chuitzanchaj, Jaibalito Laguna Seca and the municipality of Santa Cruz la Laguna, Solola.

Today, the company is aware that it is the result of the vision of two brothers with an entrepreneurial spirit and hard work, were able to establish one of the processing plants most important beer of the region since the late nineteenth century. You can intuit the future Cervecería Centro Americana, S.A. is a temporal concept that part of the continuing construction of the present.