Jaime Ojeda

In South America’s short beer history, there are few breweries that have successfully pioneered the craft beer movement. In Argentina, exists a brewery that has cracked the code to becoming a part of the South American beer landscape. From the start this brewery always spoke straight to the public, never looking for outside distributors to sell for them. The choice to go from brewery to consumer allowed them to engage with their drinkers and share their unique message in a way that made them memorable. By explaining to clients exactly what they are drinking and teaching them about beer, this Argentinian chain has won over their local market and created a lasting niche.

Underground brewing

There are over thousands of breweries in South America. How can they all become their own success story? Most of these small businesses are underground names that drinkers from around the world will never get the chance to taste. Unfortunately, the reality is that not all of them will survive. The industry is getting stronger and smarter and some breweries will be left behind. In Chile, Peru, Uruguay, Ecuador, Argentina and Brazil, institutes are regularly offering beer courses, resulting in more prepared competition. Restaurants are becoming more specialized in their selection and almost every country in South America has their own annual beer cup. 

This maturation of the industry will inevitably lead to a point of filtration that perhaps will begin to take shape in the next year or so. Breweries, that can´t keep up with the speed of the growing industry, that lack knowledge and a solid business plan will suffer and many of them will disappear.  The pattern is such, a motivated new brewer decides to become part of the trending and prosperous beer industry, because it appears to be a good choice of business. They may have investors and the capital they need, however, without a clear business model and proper management in what they can offer, the business falls flat. Eventually, they find themselves struggling to compete and without a niche in the market.

A good story equals success?

People love to hear a good story and each brewery has a story. Along with the element of storytelling, craft breweries need to know how to speak about beer, have marketing and produce a good product, while being concerned about how to take care of their stock. Many times, emerging brewers overlook these elements and this is a time when they cannot afford to do so.

South Americans must rely on being innovative, resourceful and craft-conscious. In order to survive, every corner of the business must be carried out strategically. Currently, South America is riding the wave of craft beer and as a result the cultural evolution that is underway will only reflect the best of the best.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

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In 2005 craft breweries held little presence in the Chilean market. Jaime Ojeda, from a small town in Chile travelled to Chicago, seeking exposure. His volunteerism of time and talent at local US breweries led to the first Chilean micro-brewery, hosting tap room tastings where he introduced hoppy styles and American Pale Ales.

As the Director/Creator of www.conespuma.comJaime promotes beer education and invites international experts to share industry knowledge. As the first Chilean judge serving on tasting panels in beer cups such as; World Beer Cup, Brussels Beer Challenge, Copa Cervezas de América, Copa de Cervezas de Brasil, South Beer Cup, Jaime continues to bridge the community globally. Today, he is the founder of various pubs, heads Production & Operations in Cervecería Principal S.A. and works as a beer consultant, aiming to satisfy brewers and drinkers alike.