News and Facts about Cuba

Cuba Running Low on Beer Amid American Tourism Boom

Cuba Running Low on Beer Amid American Boom
by REUTERS

The ubiquitous fridges that dispense beer in Cuba’s bars, cafes and gas
stations are running out of the island’s favorite Cristal and Bucanero
brands in recent weeks, as a surge in American tourists and new private
watering holes strain the main brewery.

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
told state media on Friday.

As well as its namesake, Cerveceria Bucanero makes the Communist-led
country’s most widely consumed brew, Cristal. The company is a
government joint venture with the world’s largest brewer, ’s
Anheuser Busch InBev.

After Barack Obama eased restrictions to Cuba in his
bid to end more than 50 years of enmity with the Caribbean nation,
American tourists are arriving in significant numbers on the streets of
Old Havana.

Hundreds will step off a cruise ship from Miami into the city next
month, the first such voyage since the U.S. that followed Fidel
Castro’s 1959 revolution.

While the embargo remains in place, ordinary Cubans have warmed to their
“Yanqui” neighbors, especially after Obama’s visit to Cuba last month,
the first by a sitting U.S. president in 88 years.

Cuba received a record 3.5 million visitors last year, up 17 percent
from 2014. American visitors rose 77 percent 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 tourism figures, for January, showed a similar pace of
growth.

Small restaurants that cater to both tourists and Cubans have blossomed
on the Caribbean island since President five years ago
formalized 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 locale upstairs had a fridge full
of cold bottles.

At its seventh Communist Party congress next week, Cuba’s leadership is
expected to push ahead with economic reforms outlined in 2011, although
the tight-lipped party has given little sign of what will be discussed.

Source: Cuba Running Low on Beer Amid American Tourism Boom – NBC News –
www.nbcnews.com/business/business-news/cuba-running-low-beer-amid-american-tourism-boom-n554031

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