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29 Colombian Brands You Must Know When Visiting Colombia

Colombian coffee cup Caldas Colombia

Updated on 05/07/2024

Dear reader,
I would also like to recommend our Colombia travel guide, which provides a perfect overview of the tourist attractions in Colombia. Enjoy reading it!

Colombian industries overview

Colombia is not only a fantastic travel destination, but also an agricultural state. In this fertile country, all plants grow wild, 365 days a year.

No wonder that Colombia produces very interesting agricultural products. In addition to agriculture, other industrial sectors sell exciting products. The following is an excursion through the Colombian product landscape and its brands.

Alpina – Dairy products

Colombian Brands

Taken from: https://www.alpina.com

Sector: Food
Origin: 1945, Sopó, Cundinamarca

Alpina is the milk king of Colombia, so to speak. The products can be found all over Colombia. The assortment ranges from milk to cheese and yogurt to baby food.

However, the cheese generally tastes like plastic. The only exceptions are the Tilsiter with herbs and the fondue. The rest is an insult to the discerning palate. I particularly advise against Mozzarella and Parmesan, which in my opinion has nothing to do with cheese.

The yogurts are a little thin, but taste very good. Here I recommend the Greek yogurt.

Highlights:

Colombina – Food

Sector: Food
Origin: 1927, Cali, Valle del Cauca

Colombina produces food and sweets, in fact, it is recognized as the largest confectionery plant in Colombia and one of the largest worldwide in the hard candy sector. Also, you can find its products in every supermarket.

The only product that I’ve personally tested so far is the ketchup, which is pretty good.

Highlights:

Ramo – Bakery

Sector: Food
Origin: 1950, Bogotá, Colombia

Ramo is known in Colombia for its sweet pastries and you can find the products everywhere. The company’s most popular product is probably Chocoramo, a piece of cake covered with chocolate.

It is one of the companies that have been able to maintain the same tradition and preparation of their products for more than 70 years, so when you eat them, you are basically tasting the original recipe.

Highlights:

  • The name “Ramo” came from the way the cakes were wrapped with a silk ribbon, in the same way as the bouquets (“ramos”) of flowers were packed at that time.

Nutresa Group – Food

Sector: Food distribution
Origin: 1960, Medellín, Colombia

Some of the most famous brands of the Nutresa group are probably Zenú (processed meats), Saltín Noel (crackers)and CreaHelado, a popular ice cream brand you can find in every grocery store.

However, the company also produces chocolate, coffee, pasta, cookies, and dairy products. Today it is present in 17 countries and is a heavyweight in the Colombian industries.

Highlights:

Chocolates Jet – Confectionery

Sector: Food
Origin: 1961, Bogotá, Colombia

 Jet chocolates hold a special place in Colombia’s heart, known for their unique flavor and cultural significance. They’re not just chocolates; they come with collectible stickers in each bar, featuring snapshots of Colombia’s breathtaking nature and ecosystems. Fans can collect and swap these stickers in special albums, a tradition that has become a beloved part of Colombian culture.

Highlights:

  • The name “Jet” owes its name to the Boeing jets – specifically the 720B, 727, 737 and 707 models brought to Colombia by Avianca in 1961. You can see this homage printed on the wrap paper cover.

Crepes & Waffles – Restaurant

Sector: Food
Origin: 1980, Bogotá, Colombia

The Crepes & Waffles chain is a Colombian institution and every traveler should visit one of these restaurants during their trip. You can find them in prime locations across major cities.

The menu mainly consists of crêpes in several variations and fillings, but also features salads, soups, as well as waffles and ice creams for dessert. The company has made a name for itself above all for its social commitment and is known for hiring single mothers and women in need. I want to add you can really find haute cuisine dishes at very affordable prices.

Highlights:

  • International empire: This chain boasts 129 restaurants and 46 artisanal ice cream shops across the country. In addition to Colombia, it operates in five other countries: Mexico, Panama, Chile, Ecuador, and Spain.

Cine Colombia – Entertainment

Sector: Film exhibition and distribution.
Origin: 1927, Medellín, Antioquia

Cine Colombia is the king of movie theaters in Colombia with a plethora of films to choose from, ranging from Hollywood proposals to national productions.

The company also has a unique section for alternative entertainment, featuring direct content from the MET in New York, the Bolshoi Ballet in Moscow, and even plays from the National Theatre in London, not bad at all.

Highlights:

  • Silent Films: The founders joined forces in 1927 to open the first silent movie theater in Colombia.
  • Mega cinema: It is the largest projection cinema in the country with a presence in 24 cities and 48 multiplex.

Artesanías de Colombia – Handicrafts

Sector: Handicrafts and souvenirs
Origin: 1964, Bogotá, Colombia

Artesanías de Colombia was founded to preserve the country’s rich cultural heritage through its artisanal crafts and products.

The products can be found in many shops around Colombia. Prices aren’t the cheapest on the market, but the company has a social purpose.

Highlights:

  • Geographical and Cultural Diversity: These Colombian handicrafts reflect the country’s wide geography and culture, with a variety that represents each region.
  • International Recognition: Indeed, these artisanal products have crossed borders, reaching showcases in cities like Milan and New York, and are taken by tourists from all over the world back to their home countries.

Avianca – Airline

Sector: Aviation
Origin: 1919, Barranquilla, Atlántico.

Avianca is considered the national airline and has the most connections in the country. During the corona crisis, however, criticism came up because the owners are foreigners and profits seem to be taxed in Panama.

The airline flies nationally and internationally and maintains a good fleet of aircrafts. However, the service is not the best in the world.

If you want to fly cheap in Colombia, you should check the Avianca website regularly, as there are always promotions.

Highlights:

  • Second Oldest: Avianca is the second oldest airline in the world, only a few months younger than KLM.
  • Pioneer in Latin America: Avianca was the first Latin American airline to operate a Boeing 737 in the 70s and a Jumbo 747 around the 80s.

Satena – Airline

Sector: Aviation
Origin: 1962, Bogotá, Colombia.

Satena is the true Colombian national airline and was founded in 1962. Satena flies to many destinations that other commercial airlines miss. Many Satena planes are still propellers, but you need those to land in Bahia Solano, for example, where the runway seems to be only 20 meters long.

The pilots come mostly or exclusively from the Colombian Air Force. If you get into an air fight during the flight, you are in good hands.

Highlights:

  • Colombia’s Air Travel Network: Satena offers one of the widest ranges of domestic routes, with 38 destinations in 20 departments of Colombia.

Bancolombia – Financial institution

Sector: Banks & Financial
Origin: 1875, Medellín, Antioquia

Bancolombia is probably the most popular bank in Colombia and of course, also identifies by its name with Colombia. You can see the three-color logo across the country. The bank has over 30 million customers.

When I immigrated to Colombia, I opened an account with Bancolombia. Unfortunately, I have not had a good experience with this financial institution. In my opinion, it is the most incompetent bank with the most incompetent employees on the continent.

Highlights:

  • Economic strenght: The financial institution has been a key player in the economic projection of Colombia and Latin America, especially in times of global slowdown such as the Covid -19 pandemic crisis.

BBC – Bogotá Beer Company

Sector: Beverages and drinks
Origin: 2002, Bogotá, Colombia

The Bogota Beer Company is a leading craft brewery in Colombia, known for its wide range of innovative beers crafted with locally sourced ingredients. Of course, you can spot a BBC pub in most districts in Bogota. Everyone knows the logo of the old beer truck here. BBC pubs are arguably the city’s most visited.

The brewed beer is very tasty and it is best to order one or more pitchers together with friends. Anyone who is staying here in Colombia during a national soccer game should urgently go to one of these pubs and early enough.

If you are interested in learning more about Colombian beers, check out my blog about the best places to drink craft beers in Bogotá.

Highlights:

  • Awarded: It is the most awarded Colombian brewery in the world.
  • Academic Origin: The idea was born as an undergraduate thesis at the Icesi University in Cali.
  • Local Inspiration: The names of their beers are inspired by well-known neighborhoods in Bogotá.

Grupo Bavaria – Brewery

Sector: Beverages and drinks
Origin: 1889, Bogotá, Colombia

Grupo Bavaria, or Bayern Group translated into German, is the largest beer producer in Colombia and the second largest brewer in South America.

Its roots trace back to 1876, when German brothers Leo Siegfried and Emil Kopp arrived in Santander in search of business opportunities. Over a decade later, they found Bavaria brewery. The company is currently owned by AB InBev, the world’s leading beer company, but the beverages have never lost their touch and popularity nationwide.

The most popular Bavaria’s drinks found everywhere in Colombia are:

  • Águila
  • Brava
  • Club Colombia
  • Cola & Pola
  • Pilsen
  • Pony Malta
  • Póker

Colombiana – Soda

Sector: Beverages and drinks
Origin: 1921, Manizales, Caldas.

Colombiana is in Colombia what the Inca Cola in Peru. Colombiana is made by Postobon and is one of the nation’s most popular sodas, created as a champagne-like kola.

However, Colombiana is so sweet that I only tried one sip of it and have since renounced the sweet drink. Colombians also mix the drink with beer and then call it “Refajo”.

Highlights:

  • Meaningful patriotism: The soda Colombiana has been part of the nation’s history and essentially reflects the patriotic spirit and the character of the Colombian people.

Postobón – Drinks

Sector: Beverages and drinks
Origin: 1904, Medellín, Colombia

Postobón is a beloved Colombian beverage brand renowned for its wide range of refreshing soft drinks and fruit-flavored sodas. Its products include soft drinks, waters, juices, hydrating beverages, energizers and teas. And surely, soon I suppose, more beverages will be launched.

Besides Colombiana, Postobón Manzana is probably the best known. This soda is incredibly sweet, not to my liking. However, you can find it everywhere.

Highlights:

  • In 2020, Postobón  received recognition from the “Premio Portafolio” for its dedication to environmental preservation, as they reuse recyclable materials in its production processes.

HATSU tea – Drinks

Sector: Beverages and drinks
Origin: 2010, Medellín, Antioquia

This tea and exotic fruit blend drink is very good, but sweet. One of the aspects that first struck me about Hatsu tea was its minimalist packaging, which shows the essence of the Japanese aesthetic that inspires the brand.

The word “hatsu” in Japanese means first or beginning, which explains the company’s pioneering approach, btw.

Today the colored bottles of tea are not only available in Colombia but in several countries.

Also, check out my other blog about the most refreshing Colombian beverages to try.

Café Quindío – Coffee

Sector: Coffee brewing
Origin: 1991, Armenia, Quindío

As the name suggests, this is a coffee brand from the Quindío region, which is part of the Coffee Triangle. You can buy the coffee in various supermarkets across the country and even on Amazon.

Café Quindío does not grow coffee itself but specializes in roasting and now operates 17 sales shops at different locations. They have opened a shop in Saudi Arabia and are exploring markets in the Middle East, the United States and Latin America.

Tostao’ Café & Pan – Coffee

Sector: Coffee brewing
Origin: 2015, Bogotá, Colombia

When I came to Colombia in 2015, there was no Tostao. In the coming years, however, the coffee shop flooded Bogota and then other parts of Colombia. Sometimes you can find Tostao in less than 50 meters apart.

Tostao is somewhat the Colombian concept of Starbucks. The set-up and the offer were simplified and initially, the prices were super cheap. Long lines formed in front of Tostao’s everywhere. Prices have risen since then, but the expansion continues.

Highlights:

  • International Bread: Although Tostao’ coffee is Colombian, the bread they sell is imported from Germany and Spain, and is baked locally in the shops.
  • Self-management: A distinctive feature of Tostao’ shops is their “self-management” model, where there are no supervisors or point managers, promoting autonomy in the workplace.

Juan Valdez – Coffee

Sector: Coffee brewing
Origin: 2002, Bogotá, Colombia

Juan Valdez is a globally recognized Colombian coffee brand that symbolizes the rich coffee culture of Colombia. Founded by the National Federation of Coffee Growers, it represents premium Colombian coffee.

It is named after the iconic fictional character, Juan Valdez, who has become synonymous with Colombian coffee farmers. The farmer with the donkey, packed with coffee bags. The Juan Valdez logo is present all over the world today.

The brand imitates Starbucks atmosphere. However, Juan Valdez is expensive for Colombian standards and the offer is aimed at the middle class and higher earners. I can say it is easily the top 1 best coffee shops in the whole country.

Highlights:

  • On 2021, Juan Valdez was awarded the B Corporation certification from US, becoming the first coffee shop chain in the world to achieve this. Basically, this certification acknowledges their commitment to addressing social and environmental issues.

Servientrega – Deliveries

Sector: Cargo transport, Delivery
Origin: 1982, Bogotá, Colombia

Servientrega is a leading Colombian logistics and courier company.  When it comes to send something from one place from another within Colombia or internationally, Servientrega is on the locals’ top of mind.

They are one of the most popular delivery companies in the country, especially for their speed. In addition, they have expanded their services to include logistics and payment solutions, which makes them quite versatile in the courier and transport sectors.

Highlights:

  • A famous overcoming history: Founder Jesús Guerrero started out selling pulses and vegetables in a market in a begarly neighborhood and then set up Servientrega after being laid off from his job.

Rappi – Delivery service

Sector: Delivery, Technology
Origin: 2015, Bogotá, Colombia

Rappi not only took Colombia but South America by storm. The delivery service is omnipresent today.

With this platform, you can have all kinds of products —from groceries and restaurant meals to pharmacy items—delivered to your doorstep in a matter of minutes.

Starting with an initial investment of $2 million, Rappi’s growth trajectory skyrocketed after receiving a $1 billion investment from SoftBank in 2019.

Highlights:

  • Too Popular: Rappi stands out as one of the most popular and successful delivery services in the region, second only to the Ifood app.
  • Express Delivery: You can find express services that promise delivery in as little as 10 minutes. Absolutely a plus!

Ecopetrol – Raw materials

Sector: Oil and gas industry
Origin: 1951, Barrancabermeja, Santander

Ecopetrol is the leading oil company in Colombia and the biggest Colombian company. Basically, it’s involved in hydrocarbon exploration and production, refining, and petrochemical activities.

It also owns most of the country’s oil and polyduct network, which are specialized pipelines for transporting oil. And all you just have to know, it plays a crucial role in the national economy. Nowadays, it employs more than 18,000 people.

Highlights:

  • Global Recognition: In the Make Global 2016, Ecopetrol was awarded as one of the 20 companies with the best knowledge management, along with companies such as Apple, Amazon, and Tesla Motors.

Éxito – Supermarket

Sector: Retail
Origin: 1949, Medellín, Antioquia

The supermarket chain Éxito is present all over the country and the large, round, yellow logo with black lettering in the middle has a high recognition value.

You can find everything from huge supermarkets to express markets, which are much smaller if you are in a hurry and need to buy something fast. It truly is one of the country’s principal employers, currently boasting over 50,000 employees.

Tiendas D1 – Discounter

Sector: Retail
Origin: 2009, Medellín, Antioquia.

D1 is a hard discount retail chain in Colombia. Currently, D1 holds the record for the most retail locations in the country, boasting over 2,300 stores nationwide.

It’s as if you step outside and on just about every corner, you’ll see this supermarket that’s become a staple in neighborhoods across the board.

And this is the deal, you can find “high quality” products ranging from personal care to all types of food at low prices. It’s truly become the go-to shopping option for Colombian consumers.

Arturo Calle – Fashion

Sector: Clothing and fashion.
Origin: 1966, Bogotá, Colombia.

Arturo Calle’s shops can be found throughout Colombia and in any major malls. Its stores are present at around 80 locations.

In the 1970s, it expanded its product line to suits, earning recognition in the local market. Fashion is not the most expensive, but you are considered well-dressed in their products.

Highlights:

  • International Expansion: The brand has a presence in countries such as Panama, Costa Rica, El Salvador, and Guatemala.
  • Social Responsibility: During the pandemic, the company invested the profits of two or three years to support its 6,000 workers.

Gef – Fashion

Sector: Clothing and fashion.
Origin: 1954, Medellin, Antioquia.

Gef offers the latest trends in clothing and accessories for men, women, and children. Their extensive catalog ranges from accessories like scarves to complete formal suits. You’ll also find a lot of designs made from denim and designs similar to Polo Ralph Lauren.

Over 70% of their catalog is “sustainable,” highlighting the use and manufacture of organic cotton. If you’re looking for high quality, great designs, and comfort, you should definitely take a look at this Colombian brand.

Koaj – Fashion

Sector: Clothing and fashion
Origin: 2008, Bogotá, Colombia

Koaj is a Colombian clothing brand, renowned for its urban and youthful “fast fashion” style. If you’re familiar with Bershka, then you know exactly what I’m talking about. Essentially, you’ll find a wide range of products such as t-shirts, blouses, pants, accessories, and much more for both women and men at very good prices.

Seriously, nowadays it’s a Colombian fashion reference that offers accessible and current fashion for men and women. Here, you will find mainly contemporary trends. If you like good designs and want to take care of your wallet, you should check Koaj out.

Highlights:

  • Competition: It is the direct competitor of other Fast Fashion clothing brands like Bershka, Zara, or H&M, globally known.

Unique – Condom

Sector: Manufacturing
Origin: 1997, Bogotá, Colombia

This brand was featured in Forbes calling their condoms “luxury.” But hey, they’re not made of gold or anything like that. The novelty is that they are latex-free. That’s it, simple and brilliant!

This is an innovative product for all allergy sufferers who do not tolerate latex in general and even less at their best. Is it a coincidence that this product comes from Colombia? I can only say, have fun with sex!

Caracol TV – Media

Sector: Media and entertainment
Origin: 1998, Bogotá, Colombia

Caracol TV is a Colombian media and entertainment company that produces and broadcasts multi-platform content nationally and internationally.

If you’re seeking local entertainment, this is the highest-rated network in Colombia, especially if you enjoy Colombian and Latin soap operas and all that kinda stuff. Ah! Also, the best alternative to watch the famous Colombian National soccer matches.

Highlight:

  • Most watched TV channel: In 2022, Caracol TV accumulated 11 consecutive years of audience leadership throughout the country.

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About Author

Frank

Frank

Hello! I'm Frank Spitzer, the founder and the heart behind Pelecanus, a specialized tour operator for Colombia travel. My journey in travel is vast and rich – I've explored over 60 countries, absorbing cultures, experiences, and stories along the way. Since 2017, I've been channeling this wealth of global experience into creating unforgettable travel experiences in Colombia. I'm recognized as a leading authority in Colombian tourism, with a deep-seated passion for sharing this beautiful country with the world. You can catch glimpses of my travel adventures and insights around Colombia on my YouTube channel. I'm also active on social media platforms like TikTok, Facebook, Instagram, and Pinterest, where I share the vibrant culture and stunning landscapes of Colombia. For professional networking, feel free to connect with me on LinkedIn. Join me on this incredible journey, and let's explore the wonders of Colombia together!

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