Italy: Heineken buys craft brewer Birrificio Hibu

Dibevit Import, a subsidiary of international brewing concern Heineken, has acquired Hibu Azienda Agricola (Birrificio Hibu), a craft brewery and brew pub in Burago di Molgora (MB) in the north of Italy. The brewery was established in Milan, Italy, in March 2007 by Raimondo Cetani, who quit his job in IT to take his passion of home brewing to the next level together with his two partners Tommaso Norsa and Lorenzo Rocca. The company relocated to Burago di Molgora twentyfour kilometers northeast of Milan in 2015. Since 2016, Hibu also runs an Italian craft beer bar in Copenhagen/Denmark, which is dedicated to serving Italian craft beer, including the Hibu products.

The name, Hibu, has an interesting etymology. It represents the combination of the word homebrewer and the acronym IBU. IBU (International Bitterness Unit) is a technical term that indicates the degree of a beer’s bitterness

 “It was time to grow. Partnering with Dibevit gives us the opportunity to continue doing what we have done to date and gear up for more,” Raimondo Cetani, owner and head brewer at Birrificio Hibu said.

Dibevit Import is an Italian distribution company specialized in the import and distribution of specialty beers from Belgium, Great Britain, Ireland, USA, France, Germany, Italy, Mexico and Australia. Many of the beers imported are Heineken brands. In addition to beer, the company also sells cider.

Italy has a vibrant craft brewing scene. The number of craft breweries totaled 940 in 2016, which placed Italy on rank 4 of the worldwide list of craft brewing behind the US (4,750),  UK (1,655) and Germany (1,295)  (, 19.3.2017). Total beer consumption per capita in Italy increased by more than 10% from 16.9 millionj hl in 2009 to 18.7 million hl in 2015. Still the beer consumption in Italy is low compared to other countries (29th in Europe), which gives space for further growth.

The growthpotential of the Italian craft beer industry did not go unnoticed by the large brewing groups:
Birra del Borgo, located in Borgorose near Rome, was sold to AB InBev in April 2016. Birrificio del Ducato, sold a 35% minority stake to Belgium family-owned brewer Duvel Moortgat in December 2016. (, 16.7.2017) In July this year bought Birradamare from Fiumincino near Romewas acquired by Molson Coors.

Another route was taken by Birra Toccalmatto from Fidenza near Parma. The craft brewer announced lately to join forces on an equal basis with Caulier Sugar free, a Belgium craft beer label. “You can sell to the big industry or you can match with your likes. I preferred the second choice,” Bruno Carilli, owner and headbrerwer of Birra Toccalamatto said in an interview. (, 16.10.2017)

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