By Deyanira Martinez
(Dominican Influencer Series) Juan Camilo & his story of leaving Wall Street to create Dyckman Beer
With virtually no resources at all, this young entrepreneur created the first Dominican beer in the United States. Juan came to New York with his mom when he was 5 years old, chasing the same American Dream of thousands of immigrants.
With a degree in finance from Bryant University and a lucrative position on Wall Street, Camilo enjoyed mixing flavors of beer in the kitchen of his Bronx apartment for leisure. One day, Camilo conceived the idea of creating a beer inspired by the flavors of his native Dominican Republic. Thus Dyckman Beers was born.
Camilo speaks proudly of the quality of his product, which is a handmade beer that only uses natural products. Dyckman Beers has no preservatives and is made with wheat.
The support of the Dominican community and local business owners was the determining factor for the beer’s success. As a loyal Dominican, he uses as the promotional slogan “una vaina bien” for his beer. Juan was a naive entrepreneur with an unknown product, but he had the support of his people, who embraced Dyckman Beers in the United States.
“Dominicans can build a castle out of nothing,” is the answer that Juan J. Camilo offers when asked about the success of his company Dyckman Beers Co.
Newspapers like the New York Times and major American television networks have covered the story of Juan J. Camilo, the dream of an immigrant who risked it all to give Washington Heights its first beer.
LT: What would you point to as notable progress among Dominicans in the US?
JC: Very positive, especially compared to other communities, being that we are the first we have our own beer [laughs] and are great in numbers, while being the largest minority in New York. We have done very well and we still have much more ahead.
LT: Are you connected to the island and, if so, how do you maintain that connection?
JC: I visit twice a year during the summer and Christmas because most of my family still lives there. I call my grandparents and uncles every Sunday, but now that I’m exporting the beer to Dominican Republic, the relationship with the country goes far beyond family and friends.
LT: Do you think Dominicans are united as a group?
JC: Yes, the community’s reaction has been very positive. I couldn’t have come this far without the support of the Dominicans.