Mountains, Beer, and Entrepreneurial Opportunity in Colombia

“I was drawn to live in a place surrounded by mountains,” says Todd Morrill.

Although originally from Baltimore, Maryland, Todd, 36, attended college in Boulder, Colorado and became enamored with the beauty and tranquility of the mountains. It was this love of the mountains that ultimately brought him to Colombia.

Todd and his wife, Ana, live in Envigado, a city in the Aburra Valley that seamlessly borders the south of Medellin and is really more like a suburb.

Todd is an entrepreneur and Colombia is full off opportunity. Medellin, in particular, is becoming a tech hub and that’s what first drew Todd. However, he has also spotted an opportunity for turning his hobby—brewing craft beer—into an income.

“After I spent $7,000 on my hobby, my wife suggested I turn it into a business,” he says.

Todd teamed up with fellow American, Jered Kenna, and the pair created a co-working space for tech and art projects that would also house a craft brewery and bar.

“We have renovated a four-story building and within the next year plan to mutate to a 10-barrel factory. Our niche is a combination of American beer styles with local fruits,” says Todd.

One of their specialties is maracuya (passion fruit).

Are there frustrations with doing business in Colombia? Absolutely.

“This is a very checklist culture. You have to follow the rules exactly, you can´t deviate from the expected,” says Todd about the process of renting space and getting business insurance.

But all in all, Todd loves living and earning in Colombia.

“I’ve been here for six years and I love the climate, the culture, and the cost of living,” he says. “I connect emotionally with the people and everything here is relationship-based—calm, relaxed, suave. Not so transactional-based as in the U.S.”

It´s easy to be in love with the climate. Daytime temperatures hover around low 80s and it drops to mid-60s F in the evening. The cost of living is also appealing. Rents for a one-bedroom apartment range from $300 to $700 per month depending on furnishings and amenities. With the perfect weather there is no need for heating or air conditioning. Fresh produce is inexpensive and abundant in both grocery stores and farmer´s markets. $15 buys you more than one person can carry home.

“You can live here for one-half to one-third of what you need in the U.S.,” says Todd.

 

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