[THE BREWER MAGAZINE] International Insights: Alejandro Kunstmann, Cervecería Kunstmann
Brewer is excited to announce the first in a continuing series of Q&As with brewing members, but this time we’re branching outside of the US and into the rest of the world.
In this series, Brewer will share personal insights from international breweries each week about the craft beer market in other countries, where those brewers get their inspiration, and how the market compares to craft beer in the US.
Alejandro Kunstmann, Commercial Manager, Cervecería Kunstmann — Chile
BREWER: What is the South American craft beer market like? KUNSTMANN: The craft beer market is still under development in South America. It’s a constantly evolving market aimed at being creativity in many regions, as there is a growing number of people who are passionate about beer and who keep it active with a promising future. In spite of the fact that this region has been mostly related to wine industry, nowadays we observe a cultural change regarding interests and likings of consumers, who are more willing to try new alternatives. They are interested in beer culture and can expect to taste special beers with character which has enabled us — as Kunstmann Brewery — to have a wide range of specialties available, positioning ourselves as the leading brewery in craft industry with 16 varieties.
BREWER: What is the market like in Chile specifically? KUNSTMANN: In the last ten years, the Chilean market has increased significantly versus other countries in the region in terms of quality varieties, beer experience and creativity of new styles. Currently, there are over 300 small, medium and large craft beer producers in Chile, so there is a broad portfolio of beers seeking to reach consumers in different ways. Kunstmann Brewery is continuously delivering new experiences for fans, through beer tours to our only plant located in the city of Valdivia, in southern Chile. During this visit we talk about the history of beer in our city and our own history, with beer tastings guided by our specialists to educate the public; and additionally offering tastings of our experimental beers on tap, allowing visitors to know different styles periodically.
BREWER: Is the market still emerging, or is saturated? KUNSTMANN: No, it’s a market still growing with a lot of space to continue developing. There are many low, medium and high scale producers, so there is enough space for collaboration and innovation.
BREWER: How are consumer tastes in Chile different from the rest of the world? KUNSTMANN: According to our experience, Chilean consumer preferences are sweet beers. For example, Kunstmann Honey specialty is the second favorite variety. On the other hand, although Chilean consumers are more willing to taste new styles, they are often reluctant to like very extreme varieties like IPAs that have a characteristic bitterness. This makes a slower development of such styles, mainly due to lack of knowledge. Also, the huge development in the supermarket category stands out since trend is different worldwide, especially thinking of the South American where marketing is mainly through specialized stores. Nowadays, there are special gondolas for Chilean and foreign craft beers in supermarkets.
BREWER: Where do you get your inspiration when creating new beers? KUNSTMANN: The main motivation of our founder and current president of brewery, Armin Kunstmann, was to bring back the joy and tradition of making beer to the city of Valdivia. After a mega earthquake in 1960, it destroyed the only brewery in the area (Anwandter Brewery). After a long journey of challenges, and always with support of this family, Kunstmann Brewery is currently the craft beer market leader in Chile, with 16 different varieties: renowned Torobayo, Lager, Bock, Honey and Gran Torobayo among them. To inspire and bring continued new experiences to all fans, we are used to visits and interact regularly with other brewers (collaborations) and input producers. We also travel to learn from other markets, we delve into them and we are continuously observing the craft beer industry, both inside and outside Chile development. Qualities of the local environment where we are located have allowed Valdivia to be positioned as the beer capital of Chile. One of our pillars is to be a positive force for the region and we materialize it through support to local producers. Here we seek to enhance ingredients in this zone, making special beers, for example, with cranberry or ulmo honey, unique in the world.