Despite increased competition caused by the presence of foreign brands, especially in the segment of popular beers, domestic brands have maintained their dominance in the market.
Competition in the beer market is fierce, and more so because of the arrival of the Belgian-Brazilian company InBev, the largest brewer in the world. However, Guatemalans prefer domestic beer, with the Gallo brand being the market leader.
Between January and August this year, 178.9 million liters were produced, up 7.9% compared to the same period in 2013, in a market where small breweries are gaining ground.
Although the market is dominated by two major domestic producers, small breweries dedicated to the small scale production have begun to increase their presence, responding to changes in the consumption patterns of Panamanians.
The increase in production capacity will allow Cervecería Panamá to expand its presence in the market, especially with its brand Atlas.
From a statement by Cerveceria Nacional, SA:
Cervecería Nacional, focussing on maintaining the quality of its products and continuing to contribute to the economic development of the country, has made a total investment of $90 million in the last three years and $21 million in the expansion of its plant, located in Tumba Muerto.
A price war and the entry of new brands, especially beer, have added dynamism to the sector.
"During the period 2011-12 companies launched onto the market products such as Budweiser presented by the company AmBev CentroAmerica, as well as other mixtures made by Cervecería Centro Americana", reported Prensalibre.com.
During the past four years, the amount of imported Brazilian, Dutch and Asian beers into Costa Rica has quadrupled.
According to a report entitled "The five major trends in alcoholic beverages", conducted by Euromonitor, all Latin American countries are projected to have growth in per capita beer consumption, mainly driven by the standard lager category reaching more middle income consumers.
Cerveceria Costa Rica, a subsidiary of Florida Ice and Farm, has agreed to buy, at a cost of $388 million, North American Breweries Holdings, the largest independent brewer in the U.S.
A statement from Florida Ice and Farm reads:
The Costa Rican company Florida Ice and Farm Co., SA ("FIFCO") announced today that its subsidiary Cerveceria Costa Rica, SA ("CCR") has signed an agreement to purchase North American Breweries Holdings, LLC and its subsidiaries ("NAB"), the largest independent brewer in the United States, owned by KPS Capital Partners, LP for $388 million. The closing of the transaction is subject to requirements laid out in a competition defense notification by Hart-Scott-Rodinoy to be reviewed by the U.S. Department of Justice and the Federal Trade Commission.
Two of the largest breweries in the world have been competing for the Panamanian beer market, since the purchase of the two local breweries 10 years ago.
An article in Panamaamerica.com reports that statements from Cervecería Nacional, a subsidiary of SABMiller, reveal that "in 2001 they controlled 80% of a market of 3 million people . The rest is held by Cervecerías Barú-Panamá and brands of imported beer. This comfortable market position began to disappear once Cervecerías Barú-Panamá, a subsidiary of the Heineken beer brand relaunched in Panama, with a new formula and marketing strategy for the product, whose results are now far beyond the control of their production capacity. "
Tsingtao Beer, leader in the Chinese market, is now available in Guatemala through Impromo distribution company.
Flor de María Casasola, Impromo’s distribution director, explained they will expand to El Salvador and Honduras in the short term, and in a second phase to Belize, Dominican Republic, Curacao and Puerto Rico.
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