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Apr 8, 2008

Regional brewers meet to talk beer, business

Story PictureFor the entire week, beer makers from around the region who call themselves the Master Brewers Association of the Americas are meeting in Belize to discuss issues pertinent to their industry. And while the event will focus primarily on technical concerns, two of the issues that will no doubt be discussed have to do with the stability of local industries and the price of the product.

Kevin Bowen, General Manager, Belize Brewing Co.
It’s just like on Thursday and Friday we have technical sessions, people who have experiences within their plants and how they solve them and hopefully their information that they can provide us may help other breweries that may have that similar situation to solve their problems like waste water treatment.”

Marion Ali
“How concerned should we be that Belikin will, say in the next say ten, twenty years not remain local?”

Kevin Bowen
“Well it all depends on the government and their policies and how well they want to protect us and the industry because these other companies buy tremendous amount of bulk and what costs them a hundred dollars per metric ton costs us a thousand dollars per ton so it all depends on how they want to help us and work with us.”

Marion Ali
“How do they play a role?”

Kevin Bowen
“It depends on all the taxes on us, the excess tax is a big one. If they keep it low then it helps us and helps the industry.”

Jacob McClean, Risk and Compliance Mgr., Red Stripe, Jamaica
“We are concerned about the rising price of malt which is universal really. We are also concerned about malt quality issues. The rising cost of brewing materials generally is a concern to us but we hope to get some ideas from this convention. There are always great ideas at the convention here and there and we expect to participate and get ideas that we can possibly use in our business.”

Marion Ali
“If we are to go by the trend, the recent trend shows that the bigger companies end up buying the smaller companies. Is that also a concern of yours or are you stable enough that you can hold on and carry through?”

Jacob McClean
“We’re very stable. We’re very stable because we’re linked into a larger company and we know that we’re stable. Diageo, Diageo is a worldwide company. It’s the world’s largest premium drinks business and Red Stripe is a part of that company.”

Kevin Bowen
“Well a price increase always affect the product. Of course everyone looks at the bottom line; you always want to make the profit that you make. But we’re examining that and we’re finding every angle not to raise our prices, to keep it as low as possible.”

Jacob McClean
“Health and safety of people working in our facilities not just in Jamaica but throughout the Caribbean, this is has somewhat taken a back seat in other organisations but for us it is number one, it is our primary focus.”

The convention is taking place at the Radisson Fort George Hotel and ends on Friday.

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Viewers please note: This Internet newscast is a verbatim transcript of our evening television newscast. Where speakers use Kriol, we attempt to faithfully reproduce the quotes using a standard spelling system.

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