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Feb 25, 2007 04:48 PM

Would American micro work in Britain, mainland Europe, etc?

What American micros have any of you ever seen abroad? I have seen none yet there are more than a handful of imports (often obscure) that are obviously readily available to us here in the States from all around the globe. I was just thinking what would happen if our top micros from the United States were widely available in the UK and Europe? How successful would Lagunitas, Stone, North Coast, Victory, Bell's, etc, fare on the road? This concern came about due to friends from the UK who for some reason think "American" beer includes beers like Corona. I'm really sick of that. I know that the money and influence are with the big brewers but how does one get the smaller pubs abroad to take an interest in genuinely good American beer products?

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  1. Offhand I can think of at least a couple of US micros that are sold overseas. I believe Anchor is sold in Scandinavia among other places. I recall Brooklyn being exported. And Rogue has been sold in Japan for a long time. I believe DFH's more extreme beers may be sold in England.

    1. I think they'd be tremendously successful... Especially the great Pale Ales, Barleywines, and Stouts being produced in the US... these are the best beers of their category in the world today, IMO.

      2 Replies
      1. re: Chicago Mike

        The issue, though, is whether a significant number of overseas consumers would care for such beers, or even if they knew they existed. Without someone to sell the idea, then sell the beers, they would have little impact.

        In some countries (e.g., Germany), beer is losing ground. How would US craft beer fare in such a market? Or would it energize it?

        The Brewers Association has been involved in overseas beer promotion in recent years, to include a presence at a big Slow Foods event, in Italy if I recall. I suppose a group such as Slow Foods would be one that would first embrace such products.

        1. re: Jim Dorsch

          I think it would do great, really.

          And since it's starting from ZERO the initial penetration would probably be pretty good. And yes I think it would energize the interest in beer, honestly.

          Also it has that value to foreigners of "keeping up with the joneses( the americans"

      2. Brooklyn Brewery's beer is apparently quite popular in Amsterdam and England. Just today at Holiday Wine Cellar, I saw an English Pale Ale that said on the label it had "American aroma hops" added.

        The American styles are making themselves known - there's a French biere de garde called Houblon (French word for hops) which is like a hybrid double IPA tripel. It's very, very good. Brasserie Fantome (from Belgium) makes a hoppy beer called Brise Bonbons that he devised after sampling American IPA.

        So I guess it's fair to say that even if they don't get widely exported, American craft brewing is having an impact overseas.

        1 Reply
        1. re: Josh

          Are you thinking of Houblon Chouffe, the "double-IPA tripel" from Brasserie d'Achouffe? That's essentially a Belgian tripel, but hopped in ways reminiscent of American double-IPA's, using a combination of European and American hop varieties. It's quite good, but I tend to prefer the similarly styled Piraat.

        2. I have had Houblon, very good beer. I think good traditional beer is losing alot of ground in Europe as the most popular styles are the Euro lagers like stella, heineken, etc.. as well as imports like Bud. There is however a larger percentage of the population drinking better quality stuff than there is in the states. That said, I think the popularity of any given beer would depend on how different the style is to the local beer as well as the mindset of the beer drinking populace. I am not so sure how a Double IPA would do in the czech Republic for example, or an Imperial Stout would do in Ireland.

          I know Denmark for example gets alot of imported American beers and seems to relly enjoy them. I had a Wintercoat IPA from Denmark on cask at O Briens, once again this is a beer clearly influenced by the American craft beer scene.

          4 Replies
          1. re: MVNYC

            Thanks for your thoughts. I however I'm not sure about your statement that "the popularity of any given beer would depend on how different the style is to the local beer as well as the mindset of the beer drinking populace" and "I am not so sure how a Double IPA would do in the czech Republic for example, or an Imperial Stout would do in Ireland" I would definitely not attempt to challenge Guinness or Beamish in Ireland or any of the well respected Pilsners from Czech Republic with one of our products of the same style. So where I understand that you might want to appeal to their traditional pallet it might get lost in the mix or be seen as imitation. Exporting traditional style may also challenge identity. For example, as good as Victory Prima Pils is I just can't see it becoming the favorite of a German beer drinker. I believe that conversely, good but obviously American styles should be promoted.

            1. re: Chinon00

              IPA's would not appeal to the Czech people i know. It simply isnt what they would view as a great beer. I am not saying that we should give them our Pilsners, but there are certain styles that do not appeal to certain markets. I actually would think that some of the stronger stouts would do well in that market.

              1. re: Chinon00


                I'm actually in a "beer club" with some eastern europeans including a "typical" mid-20's Polish yuppie...

                He loves the fine US microbrews.... appreciates them as much as any american

                1. re: Chicago Mike

                  I would have to warn against lumping all eastern europeans together. There are a lot more sweet heavy beers from Poland then there are in the Czech republic.

                  Also i am not sure if your beer club is in the US or something you do over the internet but if it is the former, then those are the tastes of someone living here who by the very nature of living in the us is exposed to more beers. If it is the latter then you would also have to imagine that someone in poland who gets beer shipped to them is really into beer, more so than the average consumer

            2. I believe Sierra Nevada is exported to England and some other parts of Europe. One of the things hindering the acceptance of American beer in the European market (especially in England), is the relatively high alcohol content. Where most English ales are brewed to fall in the 4% ABV range (give or take) and are meant to be enjoyed as session beers, a lot of American craft-brewed ales fall in the 6%+ ABV range, making them much less sessionable. Beer is much more of a social institution in Europe, and as such, you want to be drinking beers of lower alcohol content if you're out for a night at the bar with your friends. Try putting down a half-dozen or more pints of SN Pale Ale or a stronger beer in an evening at the bar, and you'll come to see why these brews aren't ideal for sessions.