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 Defence of Competition Authority has endorsed the sale of Planta Nevada to the Costa Rican company Dos Pinos.
From a press release issued by Cerveceria Nacional SA:
On Tuesday, May 7 ACODECO, The Defence of Competition (or Antitrust) Authority formally communicated through DNLC-Resolution # 012-13 OGC- the approval of the sale of Planta Nevada, producing milk, juices, and soft drinks, belonging to Refrescos Nacionales S.A. a subsidiary of Cervecería Nacional, to Cooperativa de Productores de Leche Dos Pinos R.L.
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. "
Brewers have reasons to celebrate: per capita consumption grew from 77 to 80 liters in 2011 and production increased by 5%.
Beer is the preferred alcoholic beverage in Panama, with its production having grown by 5.1% (above the average of 2% of the rest of Latin America) in 2011, reported Capital.com.pa.
The market is worth more than $390 million a year and is controlled by two large companies: Cervecería Nacional, a subsidiary of SABMiller, and Cervecería Barú- Panamá, under the control of Heineken NV. Last year they produced 247.2 million liters of beer, 5.1% more than in 2010, significantly higher than seco (6 million liters) and rum (7.2 million liters), according to data supplied by the Controller General.
Over the past 12 years, at least 10 of the country's largest industrial companies were acquired by foreign capital.
Rafael E. Berry, in his analysis in Panama America, details how from 2000 to date some of the largest Panamanian industries were acquired by foreign groups, including the National Brewery ($ 260 million), Cervecería Baru Dairy Industries ($ 220 million), and others like the largest manufacturer of bottles and companies from the food sector.
Between 2006 and 2010, beer production increased by 53 million liters annually. In the first 7 months of 2010, 131.5 million liters of beer were produced which means on average each Panamanian adult drinks 9.5 liters of beer per month.
Beer production rose by 3.3% in January 2009 when compared to the same month last year.
However, considering total liquor production in Panama (21.7 million liters in January), it increased only 2.1%, as production of sec, rum, gin and other spirits contracted by -17.9%, -13.6%, -4.3% and -36.5% respectively."
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