Two For Tuesday: Oktoberfest with a Latin American Flair
As October enters the home stretch and Halloween pulls into view, we here at The San Jose Group hope that you’ve had the opportunity to drink plenty of beer in honor of that other beloved October tradition – the German beer celebration known as Oktoberfest, which originated in Munich. Throughout the month, bars, breweries, cities and more offer plenty of special goods and activities in celebration of good, reliable beer. And while many make the pilgrimage to Germany to celebrate, turns out that’s not the only place to travel to get your drink on. The beer market in Latin and South America is growing at a rapid pace, and brands like SABMiller (recently acquired by rival Anheuser –Busch InBev) are eager to key in on the region’s potential. In honor of Oktoberfest, let us take you on a journey to two of the largest beer markets in the region, Brazil and Argentina, and how they celebrate.
A relatively young celebration, the Oktoberfest of Blumenau began in 1984 as an attempt to provide flood relief and a morale boost to its citizens, who had just experienced a major flood of the local Itajaí-Açu river. Since then, the celebration has grown into one of the largest German festival in the Americas, with over 700,000 attendees per year. The 18-day event includes folk dancing, shooting matches, traditional music, German cuisine and, of course, plenty of libations.
Argentina’s National Beer Festival has been a tradition since its inception in 1963 and is second in size only to its aforementioned Brazilian counterpart within Latin and South America. The festival takes place in Villa General Belgrano, packing all the Oktoberfest traditions into an intense 11-day span, attracting delegations from countries across Europe, bringing their traditional drinks, food and cultures.
Both of these celebrations speak to the overall strength and potential that Latin America has for the beer industry. In 2013, BMI Research identified Latin America as having “tremendous appeal” for the beer market, and the region generated the largest proportion of SABMiller’s earnings at 35%. As such, global brands are highly active through Latin and South America as they capitalize on the opportunity its consumers present, especially in countries such as Brazil, Argentina and Mexico. Overall, between 2013 and 2017, the predicted growth rate for the beer market in Latin America is at 3%. As with many industries, Latin American markets are presenting a massive opportunity for beer brands ready to take advantage of the opportunity.