The Craft Brew Alliance is partnering with Ambev, the Brazilian subsidiary of Anheuser-Busch InBev SA, to expand distribution of Kona Brewing Co. beers to Brazil. Ambev began distributing Kona’s Longboard Island Lager and Big Wave Golden Ale in Brazil in December 2015.
While Brazil is the third largest beer market in the world, both CBA and Ambev see a significant opportunity in tapping into the country’s fast-growing craft beer segment. As Brazil’s leading beverage company, Ambev is uniquely positioned to meet the increasing demand from Brazilian beer drinkers for the distinctive and authentic flavors of American craft beer. Kona Brewing Co. is a top 10 national craft beer brand and the first Hawaiian craft beer distributed in Brazil.
“We’re excited to continue building on our long-standing partnership with AB InBev through forging this pioneering new relationship with Ambev,” said Andy Thomas, chief executive officer, Craft Brew Alliance. “We think the opportunity for Kona in Brazil is massive, especially with the great synergies between Hawaiian and Brazilian culture, with their amazing beaches and strong water lifestyles. This partnership brings together Ambev’s beer expertise with an internationally loved craft beer and brand to meet the increasing demand for distinctive, authentic American craft beers in Brazil.”
“Beer consumers in Brazil are increasingly open to innovation and new palates,” said Ambev E-Commerce Director Guilherme Lebelson. “Ambev has been playing an important role in presenting new brands, flavors and styles through our e-commerce platform, Emporio da Cerveja. Kona Brewing Co. is a Hawaiian icon and a favorite U.S. special beer. Bringing Kona to Brazilian consumers shows our determination to expand the global beer culture.”
As the popularity of American craft beer continues to grow around the world, CBA has increased distribution to key international beer markets across Asia and Europe. In 2014, the company’s international shipments grew by 91%. CBA currently exports to 26 countries through a partnership with craft export company CraftCanTravel (CCT), which distributes Kona Brewing Company, Omission Beer, Redhook Brewery and Widmer Brothers Brewing. Brazil represents CBA’s 27th international market and its first distribution partnership with Ambev.
Founded in 1994 on the Big Island of Hawaii, Kona Brewing Co. has grown to be a Top 10 craft beer brand in the U.S. and one of the most recognized American craft beer brands in the world, largely based on the company’s strong connection to Hawaii as a top travel destination. The brewing company’s island-inspired craft beers combine distinctive Hawaiian ingredients with a strong emphasis on creating smooth, easy-drinking craft styles.