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Craft beer revolution trickles down to South America

South America has started a big increase in craft beer industry of the world.

By Gideon Long BBC News, Santiago,14 October 2016
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Think of Latin American alcohol and you are likely to think of wine and spirits.
Mexico has its tequila, Cuba has rum, Brazilians drink caipirinhas and in Peru they make pisco. In Chile and Argentina, the tipple of choice is often a cabernet sauvignon or a malbec.You are less likely to think of craft beer. But slowly, surely, the beer revolution that is so well established in northern Europe and North America is starting to trickle southwards.Across Latin America, small breweries are opening up, offering alternatives to the mass-produced brands of lagers. These emerging microbreweries account for only a tiny fraction of overall beer sales, but that fraction is expanding quickly.


"Sales of craft beer in Latin America are growing at between 20% and 40% a year, depending on which country you're in," says Daniel Trivelli, president of Copa Cervezas de America, one of the region's biggest craft beer contests."Here in Chile, sales are growing at 25% and craft beers have around 2% of the overall beer market. We have around 250 craft beer breweries here, producing around 1,500 different beers."
Traditionally, Latin Americans have tended to drink light low-alcohol lagers, in part due to the hot climate across much of the region.

But that is starting to change as people acquire a taste for stronger, more complex brews.

"In Brazil, despite its economic crisis, craft beer sales are growing at 40%," Mr Trivelli says."They still represent only around 0.8% of all beer sales but in a country of 220 million people who consume 69 litres of beer per capita each year that's still significant."
Brazilian brewers are also starting to experiment with their country's dazzling array of tropical fruits.
"The Brazilians could take over the world in beer if they use their unique ingredients," says Kristen England, a US beer expert and a judge at the recent Copa Cervezas de America contest staged in Chile.


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