By Ciara Long, Contributing Reporter
RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL – Originally set against a dusty backdrop of mechanical shops along Leblon’s Rua Tubira, local company Jeffrey Special Products had a knock-on effect on the area’s aesthetic when it opened. Set up by four Cariocas interested in travel and cultural exchange, Jeffrey began creating craft beer in 2014.
Almost three years later, the company has two beers and a range of non-alcoholic, organic grape juices. Their first beer, Niña, with lemon and coriander flavors, has won several international awards and the team launched a second beer, a smoky red Pilsner, last year.
With a suit-wearing duck as its symbol, Jeffrey is instantly recognizable and has found its way onto menus at many of Rio’s most stylish restaurants. Although Gilson Val, one of Jeffrey’s founders, is particular about the flavors and tastes in each beer, for him Jeffrey is about more than the products it sells.
“We all have tastes and passions, and this is our way of expressing ourselves,” he told The Rio Times. “The store is totally made and painted by hand, and it’s a place for good connections, for friends and for family, for exchanging ideas and collaborating.”
Jeffrey’s focus on artistic creativity and collaboration has triggered a transformation in the local area. It may have started as a craft brewery, but Val terms the Leblon space a “concept store”, functioning as a community space and hosting monthly exhibitions by local artists, plus weekly live music events on Saturdays.
Today, thanks to the brewery’s initiative, the creative vibes are spilling out into the local area: Jeffrey’s efforts to spread public art in the community resulted in a colorful mural by street artists Acidum Project, which stretches up the side of a nearby building.
Jeffrey’s efforts to create a space for innovation are clearly paying off. Tonight from 7PM Jeffrey will host an album launch party for Kid Le Chat, a musical collaboration that came about as a chance meeting between Brazilian-American producer Leo Moretti and American expat David Wilson in the concept store last year.
“It’s a celebration of friends and family and it seemed like a great way to get everyone together at Jeffrey’s as a kind of thank you,” Wilson told The Rio Times. “It really is thanks to them that this happened in the first place – it’s a community and it really is a place to meet and share experiences.”
Meanwhile, other forms of culture are beginning to sprout up in the area; world-renowned chef Roberta Sudbrack set up a shop on the same road after meeting the Jeffrey team. Val wants to extend Jeffrey’s artistic reach further than Leblon, launching a new capsule store in Barra da Tijuca last week and supporting NGO Favela Brass and Vidigal’s rooftop garden project.
Val believes that philanthropic efforts are best done efficiently and small-scale, in direct contact with communities. “It’s better to help on a smaller scale but to maybe inspire hundreds of other smaller projects,” he added. “It might not be you personally, but more people will be reached that way.”
The Kid Le Chat album launch party will take place tonight at Jeffrey’s from 7PM, in addition to Jeffrey’s regular live music sessions on Saturday evenings.
What: Kid Le Chat album launch
When: Monday, March 27th, 7PM – 11PM
Where: Jeffrey, Rua Tubira 8C – Leblon