In the last few years, Brazil has experienced a boom in the craft beer market. It is estimated that sales grow from 30 to 40 percent every year. And it seems that there is always a new label hitting the bars. Brazil is currently the world’s third largest beer producer. Although microbreweries only represent 0.7 percent of the total sales, their accumulated growth from 2014 to 2015 was 17 percent.
It’s not, however, just a qualitative growth. Over 100 microbreweries have received international awards since 2007. Before that, only one producer (Eisenbahn) had snatched a medal in international competitions. In 2014, Wäls was the first Brazilian brewer to ever win the Beer World Cup.
Too much corn in the brew
The remarkable evolution is very ironic if you take a look at the Brazilian mainstream beer market. Studies made by Center for Nuclear Energy in Agriculture at the University of São Paulo (USP) showed that regular beer has up to 45 percent corn, a cheap alternative to the malt.
Although not illegal, the ruse infuriated beer lovers. Althouh cheaper, corn and other non-malted grains taint the “pure” recipe. The large companies argue that in addition to bringing down the price, corn and rice also make the brew lighter. And that pleases Brazilian consumers that like to drink beer – especially when the weather is hot.
Created in 1999 in Belo Horizonte (Minas Gerais), it is the only Brazilian brewer to ever win the Beer World Cup.
Born and raised in Ribeirão Preto, the Brazilian craft beer capital. Located in Eastern São Paulo State, the city is home to several labels (including Colorado, now owned by drink giant Ambev). Invicta has been around since 2011 and brews nine labels.
Based in Votorantim (São Paulo), Bamberg has won 92 national and international awards since it was created back in 2005.
Bernardo Couto and Maíra Kimura call themselves “gypsy brewers” since they don’t have a physical address. 2cabeças has made 10 partnerships since launching in 2011. The most award-winning beer in Brazil, Saison a Trois is the result of a collaboration with Invicta.
Almost a veteran in the craft beer market, Backer expanded its business from beyond the bottle. It has bars and restaurants in Belo Horizonte, the capital of Minas Gerais. In 2016, it was voted the second best craft brewer in Latin America.
The Michelsohn brothers are famous for experimenting with recipes. Their witbier took home the gold medal at the National Beer Festival.
Beer unleashed. That is Perro Libre’s motto. A family business, the Porto Alegre-based craft brewer is also a “gypsy”. But in 2017, Perro Libre opened its Tap Room, an automated bar where the costumers use rechargeable cards to pour beer into their own glasses.