Antigua and Barbuda: Brewtech will reopen local brewery

Antigua will soon have its own brewery again. Brewtech, an engineering company from Germany is currently in the final stages of setting up a new brewery on the island of Antigua in the Caribbean. According to the planning, operations are expected to begin in August 2019 at the site of the abandoned brewery plant at Crabbes Peninsula.

Brewtech already operated a brewery in Antigua until Royal Unibrew from Denmark, as part of their international expansion plans, acquired in 2006 controlling interests in Dominica Brewery & Beverages, Antigua Brewery, and Antigua PET Plant at a price of USD 31 million (DKK 160 million).

In 2009 the three plants as well as Caribe Saint Vincent Brewery were sold to Cerveceria Nacional Dominicana (CND) , which  headquarters in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic and sought to achieve market leadership in the Caribbean. However, soon after the purchase, CND  closed and dismantled the brewery in Antigua and transferred production of the signature Wadadli brand to Vincent Brewery (Hairoun Brewery).

Already in January 2016, Antigua’s Prime Minister Gaston Browne announced said the Government has signed a memorandum of understanding with Brewtech to establish a modern brewery in Antigua and Barbuda that will manufacture a range of products for domestic use and export.

"The products will include beers, stouts, malts, aerated beverages, sodas, juices and sports drinks. The people of Antigua and Barbuda will see a direct benefit from this project as the Government will hold up to 20 per cent equity in Brewtech," Browne said at that time.

The progress on the project was delayed by the former owners of the brewery who were reluctant to give up the lease even though they were no longer producing beer locally.

Last Tuesday, Jobst Meier zu Biesen, Managing Director and Executive Partner of Brewtech announced in an interview with a local newspaper to start operations next year.  “It is an Antiguan company and our aim is to have majority Antiguan shareholders so that it could be called truly Antiguan,” he said.

Brewtech will be in charge of the engineering, the technical execution and setting up the organization. Depending on the local investors it still needs to be decided whether the technical and commercial aspects will be done fully by foreign investors or whether local stakeholders would take on the commercial responsibility of the company, Meier zu Biesen said.

Brewtech has already been in contact with the former Brewtech staff at Antigua Brewery to increase the workforce from currently 10 to about 50 experienced people.

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