Peru: AB InBev buys craft brewer Barbarian

ZX Ventures, the disruptive growth and innovation group within AB InBev, has bought 100 percent of the shares of craft brewer Cervecería Barbarian from Peru for an undisclosed sum. “We're thrilled to welcome Cervecería Barbarian to the #ZXVentures family! Founded by three lifelong friends in Lima, Peru, Barbarian is widely recognized as one of the country's foremost craft beer brands. We couldn't be more excited to have them on board as our newest craft partner!” the company announced.

Barbarian was founded in 2011 by school friends Diego Rodriguez, Juan Diego Vasquez, and Ignacio Schwalb and is one of the leading craft breweries in Peru. It operates 4 taprooms which will stay in the hands of the founders. The company also started in recent years on a limited scale exporting its beer to other countries.

“Today the business is very focused in Lima, both in the commercial channels and in the four premises. There is a distribution in other cities outside of Peru, but this does not reach 10% of the business and it is this point that we know we can strengthen,” said Daniel Maia, Craft and Specialties Director, Colombia-Peru-Ecuador at AB InBev. "We believe there is room to open up to 20 flagship stores (with the entire offer) and another 20 smaller ones (with limited choice of up to 4 varieties of beer). Between 40% and 60% of these stores would be located in the provinces where we have not yet landed, ” Maia was quoted as saying by Gestión. ZX Ventures also seeks to grow the draft beer segment that still has little presence in the local market.

ZX Ventures plans to triple the production capacity within one year and to establish Barbarian as one of the leading craft beer brands in the whole of the country. "The objective of this agreement is to maintain the success and growth of Barbarian while taking advantage of the opportunities of a market where the demand for craft beers is increasing", said Maia.

AB InBev has already a quasi-monopoly in the beer market in Peru. Since the acquisition of SABMiller in 2006 it owns Bavaria Brewery in Colombia which in turns is owner of AB InBev Backus (formerly Backus & Johnston) in Peru. Backus was in 2006 already beer market leader in Peru with a market share of about 90 percent. In addition Cervecera AmBev Peru, another indirect subsidiary of AB InBev held another 4-6 percent of the market and operated a beer-manufacturing and bottling plant in Huachipa.

In March 2018, AB InBev sold its Huachipa plant to CBC Peruana, the local subsidiary of CBC, an “international Latin American beverage company with the widest portfolio in the region and presence in more than 35 countries”. CBC Peruana sells a wide variety of soft drinks licensed by PepsiCo, fruit juices and functional drinks licensed by Beliv and continues to cooperate with AB InBev selling brands like Brahma, Corona, Modelo, Stella Artois, Bud Light, Becks, Budweiser, Hoegaarden and Leffe.

Today, Backus operates 5 decentralized beer production plants located in Lima (Ate), Arequipa, Cusco, Motupe and Pucallpa. In addition the company has its own malting plant on the outskirts of Lima with a yearly capacity of 89,000 tons and a mineral water plant. The company produces and sells in more than 180,000 points of sale throughout the country 10 beer brands including Cristal, Pilsen Callao, Cusqueña, Pilsen Trujillo, Arequipeña, San Juan, Budweiser, Corona, Stella Artois and Michelob Ultra.

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