Above all, Barry Bowen was Belizean. And few have played a greater role in our country’s history. We will all remember him as the unconventionally wise and defiantly spirited man of industry creating Belize Brewing Company, Bowen & Bowen, Gallon Jug (Belize’s only coffee farm), Chan Chich Lodge (Belize’s first upscale eco-tourism lodge), Belize Aquaculture, Belize Estate, Belize beef, Belize cacao… among others. As well, we will continue to benefit from Mr. Bowen’s environmental commitment to Belize, such as his contributions to the Rio Bravo Conservation, the largest private nature reserve in Belize. His legacy lives on from his philanthropy too; San Pedranos thank him daily for his funding of the Boca del Rio Bridge as they fondly recall him as the straw-hatted, Belikin-in-hand driver of his green tractor about town.
He was our Knight in Belizean shining armor… for real! He went to England, jollily, to be touched on the shoulders by the sword of her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II. Belikin would not exist without Sir Barry but he would have been quick to counter that Belikin only truly exists because of his beloved fellow Belizeans.
Today, his sons and daughter strive everyday to carry forth Sir Barry’s brewing and Belizean legacy.
After 40 years of Belize Brewing Company, a step forward we wanted to take was actually a step back to the original roots that made us. With only German brewmasters prior, it made all the sense in the world to make the change to a Belizean born and raised brewmaster. We had someone already on board, who Shelley Bowen likes to refer to as “a geeky engineer who knows everything.” We just know him as Nolan Michael, but backed by master degrees in both organic synthesis chemistry and analytical chemistry, he is pretty geeky. In 2011, he attended the international brewing program at Siebel and the World Brewing Academy and graduated top of his class (of course). He says it’s an honor and privilege to be here, and everyone who tries the beer feels the same way about him.
We’re proud to admit that with Nolan at the helm, Belikin, the Beer of Belize, has never been of higher quality.
Belize Brewing Company is like a bumblebee. By all aerodynamic theory a bumblebee shouldn’t be able to fly – the wings are too small to support the weight of the bee during flight – but it does anyway. Similarly, industry “experts” told Barry Bowen that Belize didn’t have the population base to support a brewery. Obviously experts don’t know the character of Belizeans any better than they know the spirited will of the bumblebee.
So, in 1969 Sir Barry launched Belize Brewing Company, makers of Belikin to be sold Onli Eena Belize. And only because of the support of our fellow Belizeans, the brewery has steadily grown and we’ve been able to make significant investments in state-of-art brewing equipment and craft awarded beers respected world round. Not bad for a brewery that shouldn’t be.
Not bad for a Belizean population too small to fly a brewery.