Pierhead targets Chilean beer for UK

Prolific world beer importer Pierhead Purchasing is targeting Chile and Argentina for the next additions to its portfolio.

The company is close to a deal with independent Chilean brewer Kross which makes stout, golden ale and maibock style beers in addition to a pilsner lager.

The move comes despite reported reluctance from supermarkets to consider new product lines, due to concerns over consumer confidence.

Michael Cook, Pierhead’s director of imported beer, said: “We’re trying to bring in a beer from Chile to tie-in with the growing Chilean wine market in the UK.

“It’s from an independent brewer which makes some very good beers. We also may be looking for an alternative from Argentina.”

The company already imports Inbev-owned Quilmes from the South American country.

Cook added that Casablanca from Morocco was one of its fastest growing brands.

“Morocco is really growing as a holiday destination,” he said. “We very pleased with the reception it’s been getting. In places like Brighton and Bournemouth there are growing North African populations and a boom in Moroccan restaurants which is generating interest in its beer – and wine as well.”

Cook said supermarkets were becoming a tougher sell for new lines.

“Buyers are sitting on the hands a bit at the moment,” he said. “They seem scared that the market is going to have a downturn and they’re less willing to take on new or different brands that they feel could pose a problem to them in the future.

“There’s a reluctance to do any thing and they’re waiting to see how things develop, but the catch is if you don’t do something, then nothing develops.”