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Cuba running low on beer as thirsty US tourists descend

Cuba running low on beer as thirsty US tourists descend
Shortages prompt island’s main brewer to consider opening a new plant
and importing beer from outside the country to keep pace with growing demand
Sunday 10 April 2016 01.55 BST

The ubiquitous fridges that dispense beer in Cuba’s bars, cafes and
petrol stations are running out of the island’s favourite Cristal and
Bucanero brands as a surge in American tourists and the proliferation of
new private watering holes put the nation’s main brewery under strain.

Brewer Bucanero needs a new plant to keep pace with demand from tourists
and a burgeoning private sector that competes with state-run
outlets for supplies, Mayle Gonzalez, a sales executive at the company,
said on Saturday..

Bucanero, a joint venture between the Cuban government and ’s
Anheuser Busch InBev, also makes the Communist-led country’s most widely
consumed brew, Cristal.

Local media reported that Cuba’s breweries signed contracts this week
for more than 33m cases of beer at a business in Havana, considerably
more than their current production capability will allow. Bucanero is
reportedly planning to import 3m cases of beer from Dominica to keep up
with demand.

After US Barack Obama eased restrictions to Cuba in
February, American tourists have started descending on Cuba in
significant numbers, a trend that is expected to continue.

Hundreds will step off a cruise ship from Miami into the city in May,
the first such voyage since the US that followed ’s
1959 revolution.

While the embargo remains in place, ordinary Cubans have warmed to their
“Yanqui” visitors, especially after Obama’s visit to Cuba in March, the
first by a sitting US president in 88 years.

Cuba received a record 3.5 million visitors last year, up 17% from 2014.
American visitors rose 77% to 161,000, in addition to hundreds of
thousands of Cuban-Americans, testing the country’s supply of
room, rental cars and beer.

The most recent figures, for January, showed a similar pace of

Small restaurants that cater to both tourists and Cubans have blossomed
on the Caribbean island since president five years ago
formalised changes designed to remove the Communist state from many
small-scale economic activities.

“Private bars can go out and find supplies where they can, I can only
sell what the government gives me,” said the manager of a state-run bar
that ran out of beer, while a private bar upstairs had a fridge full of
cold bottles.

Reuters contributed to this report

Source: Cuba running low on beer as thirsty US tourists descend | World
news | The Guardian –

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