SAO PAULO – Exotic and regional products are boosting the production of Brazil’s artisanal beers, a sector that offers unique sensorial experiences to consumers, but also faces the challenge of high taxation, as beer enthusiasts on Friday celebrate World Beer Day.
Artisanal breweries, which have gained strength in Brazil in the last 10 years, recorded growth of 17% per year, consolidating a new trend of consumption of products differentiated by flavors, quality and sensory qualities.
Regional fruits such as cupuaçu, passion fruit, tangerine and açai are now ingredients of artisanal beers in the north and northeast of Brazil.
Other ingredients include pineapple, pepper and mate, while in the states of Parana, São Paulo and Minas Gerais, the beverages’ flavors are complemented with mango, damiana flower, hibiscus, chestnuts, lemon, cashew, acerola and even coffee.
About 91% of the producers of these beers are in the south and southeast of the country – the most populated and developed regions of Brazil –, according to data from the Institute of Beer.
The president of the Brazilian Association of Artisanal Beer (Abracerva), Carlo Giovanni Lapolli, highlighted the cultural aspect and influence of European immigrants in those regions as strengths for small-scale manufacturing.
On the other hand, Lapolli highlighted the growth of artisanal production in the north and northeast of the country, fuelled by exotic ingredients such as uvaia, citrus fruits, chestnuts and açai.
“The brewer chooses the ingredients looking for sensory factors, such as aroma, flavor and texture, leaving aside the economic and financial aspects. We use barley instead of corn extract, for example, a concern that does not exist in popular brands,” Lapolli explained to EFE.
In numbers, Abracerva estimates that there are 600 artisanal breweries in Brazil with an average production output of 5 million liters per month.
The Institute of Beer estimates that more than 1 billion liters of beer – in all its variants including artisanal – are produced per month.
The demand for beer in Brazil makes it the third largest consumer of the drink in the world, behind only the United States and Germany.
“Brazilian consumption requires a quantity of barley that the farmer cannot supply. It is clear that large beer companies use other grains such as corn, rice and even canary seed,” said Alisson Chioratol, a researcher at the Agronomic Institute of Campinas, in the state of Sao Paulo, told EFE.
Without the challenges of large-scale production, artisanal beers are more expensive than the popular ones because of the quality of the products used, such as imported cereals, including hops and malts.
“In the United States and Europe, the value of artisanal beer is two to three times greater than that of ordinary beer, while in Brazil that share is five to 10 times. The business grows more,” Lapolli explained.
According to the owner of Abracerva, another factor that determines the prices is the high taxation, which reaches 56% on the value of the product.
For Lapolli, faced with limitations for the marketing and expansion of artisanal beers, the great challenge of the institution is to “raise awareness” of Brazilians to democratize and expand consumption.