Brazil: Spain’s no.4 brewer Estrella Galicia to build $31m brewery

Spain’s 4th largest brewer Hijos de Rivera, maker of the Estrella Galicia beer brand and Maeloc cider has signed on Thursday a letter of intent to build a R$ 100 million ($31 million) brewery in Pocos de Caldas in the southwestern state Minas Gerais in Brazil. The brewery is planned to have an initial capacity of 200,000 hl with the option for a further increase in the future. The brewer entered the Brazilian market in 2008 and started to export its brands Estrella Galicia, Estrella Galicia 0.0% (non-alcoholic), 1906 Reserva Especial, 1906 Red Vintage and 1906 Black Coupage.

“Brazil is a country that has welcomed our products. We are here to contribute with an offer of value and quality in the growing premium segment of the market, "said Ignacio Rivera, CEO of Hijos de Rivera. During a meeting in June in Galicia he explained to alumnis of IESE business school that his company is focused on the premium segment of the market. “Our aim was to overtake Heineken [in Spain] in terms of quality and quantity and we achieved it.” He elaborated on the strategy of Hijos de Rivera, which means “sowing” in promising countries with a special attention to South America and especially Brazil.

Hijos de Rivera is an independent family owned Galician company, which was founded in 1906. Its brand Estrella Galicia is by its own account the leader in the premium segment in the Spanish beer market. The company ranks no. 4 in the domestic beer market with a production of approximately 1.8 million hectoliters in 2014 and a market share of about 6%. Market leader in 2014 was Mahou/San Miguel (11.9m hl) followed by Heineken (10m hl) and Damm (8.3m hl). Hijos de Rivera also owns a number of non-alcoholic beverage brands including Cabreiroá, Agua de Cuevas, Fontarel and Zuvit.

The product portfolio of Hijos de Rivera is distributed throughout Spain, and in countries worldwide including Brazil, Australia, China, Russia, Philippines and USA. In April 2017 Hijos de Rivera announced that the company had acquired 32% of Ireland’s leading craft brewer Carlow Brewing Co., whose beers are distributed in Spain since 2015 by Estrella Galicia (, 25.4.2017).

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