Latin America's emerging craft beer industry is growing in the hands of entrepreneurs who bring passion to the business. In Brazil there are 650 craft breweries; in Mexico, 630; in Chile, 350; and in Colombia, about 45. And these numbers keep soaring, according to data from local associations.
Carlo Bressiani, director at Escola Superior de Cerveja e Malte, a Brazilian university catering to the brewing industry, says both Anheuser-Busch InBev and Heineken, as well as financial investors, are actively scouring the Latin American market for potential acquisition targets.
AB InBev has been shopping around. Last year, it completed the acquisition of four breweries in Mexico through its local subsidiary Grupo Modelo. In Brazil, the beer giant bought Cervejaria Colorado and Cervejaria Wals in 2015. That same year, it purchased Bogota Beer Company, Colombia’s biggest craft brewer, according to Mergermarket data.
Heineken, in turn, acquired control of a wide portfolio of Brazilian craft beer brands, including Baden Baden and Eisenbahn, following the February acquisition of Brasil Kirin, a local subsidiary of Kirin Holdings Company for $664 million euros.
By the end of 2017, Brazil is likely to have at least 700 craft breweries, a number that may increase by up to 40% next year, says Carlo Lapoli, president of Brazilian Association of Craft Breweries (Abracerva).
In 2017, Mexico produced 108,723 hectoliters of craft beer, according to the Mexican Beer Association (Acermex). The sector, which accounts for only 0.1% of local production, caught the attention of Modelo, the country’s largest brewer. Last year, Modelo completed the acquisitions of the breweries Cucapa, Tijuana, Bocanegra and Mexicali. The four breweries together represented over 50% of Mexico’s 2016 production of craft beer, says Jaime Andreu, co-founder of Mexico City-based independent brewer Primus.
The total value of Mexico’s craft brewery industry is around $50 million. This figure is expected to rise to at least $250 million in the next three years, says Esteban Silva, director at Cerveceria Colima.
In Chile, the craft beer industry represents 1.3% of Chile's beer market and reached annual revenues of around $82 million, says Daniel Trivelli, president of Copa Cervezas de America, an international competition of beer labels. This growth has increased the interest in acquisitions and investments in the sector, he notes.
In fact, Chile-based wine producer Vina Concha y Toro announced in October the acquisition of a controlling stake in Curacavi-based Cerveceria Kross.
In Colombia, local and foreign brewing and beverage giants have already acquired Colombia’s biggest craft brewers, says Sergio Cabrera, president and co-founder of the country’s Association of Craft Brewers. In 2015, AB InBev acquired Bogota Beer Company. A year later, in 2016, Central Cervecera de Colombia, a 50-50 joint venture between Colombian beverage giant Grupo Postobon and Chile’s Compania Cervecerias Unidas acquired Artesana Beer Company (3 Cordilleras) for an undisclosed amount.
By the Latin American reporting team of Mergermarket, a unit of the newly rebranded Acuris. The team includes Bruna Maia Carrion in Sao Paulo, Dominic Pasteiner in Mexico City, Ana Toral in Santiago, and Carlos Martinez in Bogota.
December 12, 2017
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