Many of us have experienced a balmy Caribbean day, relaxing in the shade of a palm tree and sipping a frosty Red Stripe beer.
The Jamaican brewer is hoping to extend that experience to a lot more North Americans, those who prefer a different sort of container. This week it began shipping canned beer to the U.S. and Canada. The 12-ounce cans will be available as a four-pack offering at a suggested retail price of $6.99. The brand has been available here for years in 12- and 24-ounce bottles.
According to the brewer, part of the rationale for offering its flagship brand in a 12-ounce can to the U.S. market is the faster pace of growth of imported canned beer there.
“Currently, the small import-beer sector is growing at 4.6 percent with import cans growing at 13 percent,” a company spokesman said. “Despite the state of the U.S. economy, Red Stripe beer continues to show a fair degree of resilience registering a 30% increase in volume sales” in February.
Also from the Caribbean, Caybrew has reached export and distribution agreements with a Florida company. Anyone who has traveled in the Cayman Islands and enjoyed the brand may have been disappointed they couldn’t buy it in the U.S.
Caybrew has only been on the market since 2007 but has quickly gained regional acceptance. The first shipment to Tampa is expected to be on store shelves this month.
Fritz Hofmeister of 4Palms Importing LLC, which is handling the brand, told me, “Florida will be the inital launch markdt¨ but soon we’ll start working with distributors nationwide. We also will begin posting a list of establishments serving Caybrew (www.4PalmsImporting.com) soon.”
In other beer news:
- Fans of the Alaskan beer from Midnight Sun Brewing Co. might find it easier to get before long. The Anchorage brewer is building a new location in the city that will increase potential brewing capacity from 2,500 to 10,000 barrels a year.
- The Brewers Association has released its annual list of the top 50 craft brewing companies and the top 50 overall brewing companies. The organization represents the majority of brewing companies in the U.S. Rankings are based on 2008 sales volume. The Boston Beer Co., known for its Samuel Adams brews, topped the craft brewers list and was fourth overall. Anheuser-Busch/InBev topped the overall list.
- The limited-edition Guinness 250 Anniversary Stout now is available in the U.S. It is expected to be on sale for about six months, marking the brewer’s 250th birthday.
(William M. Dowd covers the adult beverage world online at billdowd.com)