Beer is an international language. Almost everywhere has its own special brew to show off for. Presidente beer has been around for a very long time. Its origins can be traced back to 1929 when the Presidente brewery was founded by the industrialist Charles H. Wanzer and his team. 1935 was when the iconic Dominican beer was released, named after “El Presidente,” which was Dominican President Rafael Leonidas Trujillo.
Presidente beer was initially released as a dark beer but did not see much success. It was only in the 1960s where manufacturers transformed Presidente beer into the pilsner we all know and love today. In 1986, the Dominican cigarette company Grupo Leon Jimenes took over the brewery.
Cerveceria Nacional Dominicana (CND) owned several of the breweries that produce Presidente beer. And only recently, in 2012, AmBev took over majority ownership and had big plans to expand the market for Presidente.
Where can you find Presidente beer?
Presidente Beer fast became popular in the Dominican Republic, and today you can also find it in the US, Spain, Switzerland, Germany, Belize, Guadeloupe, Saint Martin, Puerto Rico, and many more places. Today, besides the Dominican Republic, you can find the beer almost everywhere in Miami, New York, New Jersey, Massachusetts, and Rhode Island. You can also buy it online at Drizly.
History of Presidente beer
Before the birth of Presidente beer in the 19th century, you could only find North American or European beers in the Dominican Republic. The locals found that the European beers were too heavy and disliked the strong taste. American beers on the other hand, were too light and low in alcohol content. Then in 1929, Charles H. Wazner, an entrepreneur, saw an opportunity in the Dominican beer market, and thus founded the Cerveceria Nacional Dominicana.
It was shortly after this that CND introduced their signature product that will eventually be the pride of Dominican culture for the next 70 years. The creation was a mix of the extremes of both the European and American beer, producing the perfect balance to satisfy the tastes of the Dominican locals.
The growth of CND and Presidente beer
CND and Presidente sales prospered through the 1940s and 1950s, even overshadowing the sales of rum, which was also gaining popularity at the time as the country’s national drink. Then in 1951, the very first and still currently used plant in Avenida Independencia was build and inaugurated, marking another big step for Presdente and CND.
Despite the turmoil faced by the Dominican Republic back in the 60s, CND was resilient as they continued to increase production and expanding to greater heights. CND’s resilience will eventually make them the most powerful and important distributors in the Dominican Republic from the 1970s.
The takeover by Anheuser Busch InBev’s Brazillian arm AmBev bought the majority of the controlling stake in CND for more than $1.2 billion, becoming the biggest beverage company in the Caribbean. This significant takeover is occurring with the latest consolidation trends in the brewing industry worldwide.
AmBev spent around $1 billion for 41.76% of majority shareholder E. Leon Jimenes, of which he owned the largest brewer in the Dominican Republic with an 83.5% stake before the purchase. AmBev also paid $237 million to buy a 9.3% share in CND, which is owned by Heineken.
This takeover resulted in a partnership between Leon Jimenes and Ambev, forming the Dominican Republic’s biggest company. Ambev Dominicana currently holds both Brazilian brewer’s Dominican operations, as well as a significant stake in CND. This consolidation proves to be lucrative for the company, whose revenue was a good $570 million, surpassing the organization’s estimate of just $190 million.
Presidente Beer has had some notable sponsors in the past. The brand often collaborated with export partners like the University of Miami Hurricanes, Miami Marlins, and Miami Heat. So much so that Presidente became the official beer for the University of Miami Hurricanes, the NCAA football team, and the Orange Bowl in Miami in 2007 and eventually became Miami Heat’s official imported beer in 2009. You have probably heard of the partnership in advertisements all over.
In 2012, the Dominican beer became the official sponsors of the Miami Marlins. Festival Presidente de Musica Latina is an annual three-day event hosted by Presidente, which showcases both Dominican and International musical talents. It is usually held in the Dominican Republic.
New Chairman Alex Rodriguez
Most recently, Presidente USA appointed its new chairman, and to everyone’s surprise, it is former baseball star Alex Rodriguez. Rodriguez himself is of Dominican descent. Growing up in Washington Heights, New York, he saw potential among Dominican Americans and other mexican beer drinkers. This is evident especially if you consider the 2 million Dominicans and 60 million Hispanics living in America.
To locals in the Dominican Republic, which is also where you will find the most hardcore Presidente beer drinkers, the beverage is liken to larger and more familiar brands like Coca-Cola or Pepsi, in that they have all been around through the ages.
Presidente beer itself has gathered around 70 years of rich history, making it the beer of choice for Dominicans, and a symbol of national pride. With the new partnership, the hope for Presidente beer is to rekindle this passion and love for the beer in the locals, and to share and spread this passion to others.
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The Future of Presidente Beer
Although it is currently a tough period for the beer industry, the future of Presidente beer seems promising especially with its new ownership. With it brings a rekindled passion for the beer, and also more innovative ideas in launching the brand to where it needs to be.
CND and Presidente beer’s resilience throughout the ages is the reason why it is still around after so long. And with the recent significant changes, the future of Presidente beer in the US and international markets seem promising.