(Portland, OR) – Craft Brew Alliance, Inc. (“CBA”) (Nasdaq:BREW), a leading craft brewing company, announced today it is partnering with Ambev, the Brazilian subsidiary of Anheuser-Busch InBev SA, to expand distribution of Kona Brewing Co. beers to Brazil. Ambev began distributing Kona’s award-winning Longboard Island Lager and Big Wave Golden Ale in Brazil in December 2015.
While Brazil is the third largest beer market in the world, both CBA and Ambev see a significant opportunity in tapping into the country’s fast-growing craft beer segment. As Brazil’s leading beverage company, Ambev is uniquely positioned to meet the increasing demand from Brazilian beer drinkers for the distinctive and authentic flavors of American craft beer. Kona Brewing Co. is a top 10 national craft beer brand and the first Hawaiian craft beer distributed in Brazil.
“We’re excited to continue building on our long-standing partnership with AB InBev through forging this pioneering new relationship with Ambev,” said Andy Thomas, Chief Executive Officer, Craft Brew Alliance. “We think the opportunity for Kona in Brazil is massive, especially with the great synergies between Hawaiian and Brazilian culture, with their amazing beaches and strong water lifestyles. This partnership brings together Ambev’s beer expertise with an internationally loved craft beer and brand to meet the increasing demand for distinctive, authentic American craft beers in Brazil.”
“Beer consumers in Brazil are increasingly open to innovation and new palates,” said Ambev E-Commerce Director Guilherme Lebelson. “Ambev has been playing an important role in presenting new brands, flavors and styles through our e-commerce platform, Emporio da Cerveja. Kona Brewing Co. is a Hawaiian icon and a favorite U.S. special beer. Bringing Kona to Brazilian consumers shows our determination to expand the global beer culture.”
As the popularity of American craft beer continues to grow around the world, CBA has increased distribution to key international beer markets across Asia and Europe. In 2014, the company’s international shipments grew by 91%. CBA currently exports to 26 countries through a partnership with craft export company CraftCanTravel (CCT), which distributes Kona Brewing Company, Omission Beer, Redhook Brewery and Widmer Brothers Brewing. Brazil represents CBA’s 27th international market and its first distribution partnership with Ambev.
Founded in 1994 on the Big Island of Hawaii, Kona Brewing Co. has grown to be a Top 10 craft beer brand in the U.S. and one of the most recognized American craft beer brands in the world, largely based on the company’s strong connection to Hawaii as a top travel destination. The brewing company’s island-inspired craft beers combine distinctive Hawaiian ingredients with a strong emphasis on creating smooth, easy-drinking craft styles.
About the Beers
Kona Big Wave Golden Ale
Big Wave is a lighter-bodied golden ale with a tropical hop aroma and flavor, resulting in a smooth, easy-drinking refreshing ale. The use of caramel malt contributes to the golden hue of this beer, which has received numerous awards, including a gold medal at the North American Brewers Association in 2014 and a gold medal at the U.S. Open Beer Championships the year prior. ABV 4.4%, IBU 20.
Kona Longboard Island Lager
Longboard Island Lager is a smooth refreshing lager fermented and aged at cold temperatures to yield its exceptionally smooth flavor. A delicate, slightly spicy hop aroma complements the malty body of this beer, which has earned multiple medals, including a gold medal at the 2014 North American Brewers Association awards. ABV 4.6%, IBU 18.
About Kona Brewing Co.
Kona Brewing Company was started in Kailua-Kona on Hawaii’s Big Island in the spring of 1994 by father and son team Cameron Healy and Spoon Khalsa, who had a dream to create fresh, local island brews made with spirit, passion and quality. Today, Kona is Hawaii’s largest and favorite craft brewery, known for top-selling flagship beers Longboard Island Lager and Big Wave Golden Ale and award-winning innovative small-batch beers available across the Islands. The Hawaii born and Hawaii-based craft brewery prides itself on brewing the freshest beer of exceptional quality, closest to market. This helps to minimize its carbon footprint by reducing shipping of raw materials, finished beer and packaging materials.
Kona Brewing has become one of the top craft beer brands in the world, while remaining steadfastly committed to its home market through a strong focus on innovation, sustainability and community outreach. In 2014, the company achieved a milestone in its home state, selling more than 1 million cases in the Islands for the first time in its history. As announced in early 2015, Kona Brewing is investing approximately $15 million to build a new state-of-the-art brewery in Hawaii capable of producing 100,000 barrels (BBLs) per year. The new brewery will be up and running by early 2017.
About Craft Brew Alliance
CBA is a leading craft brewing company, which brews, brands and markets some of the world’s most respected and best-loved American craft beers.
The company is home to three of the earliest pioneers in craft beer: Redhook Ale Brewery, Washington’s largest craft brewery founded in 1981; Widmer Brothers Brewing, Oregon’s largest craft brewery founded in 1984; and Kona Brewing Company, Hawaii’s oldest and largest craft brewery founded in 1994. As part of Craft Brew Alliance, these craft brewing legends have expanded their reach across the U.S. and more than 15 international markets.
In addition to growing and nurturing distinctive brands rooted in local heritage, Craft Brew Alliance is committed to developing innovative new category leaders, such as Omission Beer, which is the #1 beer in the gluten free beer segment, and Square Mile Cider, a tribute to the early American settlers who purchased the first plots of land in the Pacific Northwest.
Publicly traded on NASDAQ under the ticker symbol BREW, Craft Brew Alliance is headquartered in Portland, OR and operates five breweries and five pub restaurants across the U.S. For more information about CBA and its brands, please visit www.craftbrew.com.
About Ambev SA
Ambev SA engages in the production, distribution and sale of beverages. It offers beer under the brand names Skol, Brahma, Antarctica, Bohemia, Original, Quilmes, Paceña, Pilsen, Labatt Blue, Alexander Keith’s, Kokanee, and Guaraná Antarctica; and carbonated soft drinks, other non-alcoholic and non-carbonated products such as Pepsi, H2OH!, Lipton Ice Tea and Gatorade. The company was founded on July 8, 2005 and is headquartered in São Paulo, Brazil.