Dublin has its Guinness, Granada boasts Alhambra beer, Sevilla Cruzcampo and in Málaga they brew Victoria beer. But here in Galicia, walk into any watering hole and you will come across a rather tasty beverage called Estrella Galicia (Galician Star). This pale lager is drunk in bars across Spain, with plenty more exported to markets including Germany, Switzerland, the UK, Portugal, Brazil, Mexico and the United States. In fact, annual production now tops more than 100 million litres!
The Estrella Galicia Brewery was founded 1906 in A Coruña by José María Rivera Corral after he returned from Cuba and Mexico. In the 1920s the factory became mechanised in order to keep up with the increasing demand for beer, which was becoming more popular and accepted in Spain. The onset of the Civil and World Wars between 1936 and 1950 halted production, but a rapid period of expansion followed and in the 1960s the factory was pumping out ten million litres a year to thirsty Spaniards, thanks to the introduction of state of the art automated production lines. A decade later the founder’s grandchildren took charge of the company and the current factory was built in A Coruña.
Meanwhile, the old factory of Cuatro Caminos took on a symbolic role and still produces more than two million glasses of beer to this day – making it an essential visit in A Coruña. More recently, in 2006, the brewery celebrated its 100th anniversary, with King Juan Carlos among those raising a glass to toast its success. During the party the brewery also organised for a number of top Galician rock bands to tour the autonomous community.
Today Estrella Galicia is recognised as one of Spain’s most popular beers – not bad for a firm with humble beginnings founded in A Coruña over a hundred years ago!