Amid Venezuela’s economic crisis, business is booming for small craft brewers like Caracas’ Social Club. Owners say demand from weathy drinkers, who are largely unaffected by the country's economic crisis, regularly outstrips the 3,000 liters it produces per month. Jillian Kitchener reports.
In a country grappling with economic hardship, where food and basic items are hard to come by-- Venezuela's craft brewers are creating a buzz. The 'Social Club' in Caracas--is producing a high end craft beer-- with a single bottle costing what a minimum wage worker earns in two days. And wealthy Venezuelans are going bottoms up. Because according to owner Victor Querales, Venezuelans they like to keep up with what's in fashion. And these days, it's niche products like craft beer. There are now 30 craft brewers in the country, according to the Craft Beer Association of Venezuela… often supply high-end liquor stores and restaurants. Owners of the Social Club say they regularly sell out of their 3,000 liters produced each month. (SOUNDBITE) (Spanish) OWNER OF THE SOCIAL CLUB, VICTOR QUERALES, SAYING: "Even though this is a luxury product for the market and for Venezuelan standards, I can say with all sincerity that this is the cheapest craft beer in the world. By that I mean a bottle or glass of craftbeer anywhere in the world easily costs more than two dollars and here we're selling a glass of craft beer for less than a dollar." Craft brew still represents less than 1 percent of the market, which is dominated by domestic brewing giant Polar and its smaller rival Regional. That's because --apart from the exorbitant cost-- Venezuelans are also not used to the strong flavors and high alcohol content. But craft brewers believe there is room to grow… and they're preparing for an eventual economic rebound to toast to.