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Posted June 07, 2003 by publisher in Business In Cuba

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HAVANA - Belgian brewing giant Interbrew SA’s expansion plans in Cuba are on track at 1.5 million hectoliters (39.63 million U.S. gallons) a year, with plans to double output in the future, the head of the company’s local operations told the official media on Thursday.

Interbrew, the world’s No. 3 brewer, and the government have a 50/50 percent partnership in Cerveceria Bucanero SA (CBSA), which operates a brewery in eastern Cuba.

CBSA Director Gerry Burke said recent investments had increased capacity at the plant to 1.5 million hectoliters per year, from 600,000 hectoliters (15.85 million U.S. gallons) this time in 2002.

Burke said planning continued to build another 1.5 million hectoliters brewery near the Caribbean island’s capital, Havana.

Burke said $30 million had been invested in the venture since it was formed in 1993, with plans to invest another $100 million over the next 15 years.

Last year Interbrew and the island’s government extended the joint venture for 30 years, after an initial agreement ended.

CBSA makes beer under the brand names Cristal, Bucanero, and Mayabe, which account for more than 90 percent of the country’s hard currency market.

Interbrew said in 2002 that it saw beer consumption more than doubling on the island by 2010, as the tourism sector grew and more Cubans obtained dollars.

CBSA plans to export its Cristal and Mayabe beer in the future, Burke said.

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