Ambrew predicts year of heady expansion

PUBLISHED : Sunday, 25 May, 1997, 12:00am
UPDATED : Sunday, 25 May, 1997, 12:00am

AMERICAN Craft Brewing International (Ambrew), the holding company of domestic micro-brewer South China Brewing Co, expects to produce more than one million cases of beer a year by the end of next year.

The company opened its third micro-brewery, in Mexico, last week and is negotiating with individuals in China, Singapore, Malaysia, India, Greece, Britain, Spain and countries in Eastern Europe and South America with an eye to further expanding its business.

The listing of Ambrew on the Nasdaq stock exchange last September was a direct result of South China Brewing's success. The holding company was created and listed in order to raise cash for its ambitious expansion plans.

Last Tuesday saw the opening of the 20-barrel capacity Cerveceria Rio Bravo, on the Mexico-California border town of Tecate.

In April, Ambrew opened its Celtic Brew facility near Dublin, Ireland.

Each of the company's micro-breweries produce beer tailored for local tastes.

The Mexican facility will initially brew a lager called Cerveza Mexicali, while the Dublin brewery is producing Finians brand Irish and blond ales.

In Hong Kong, South China Brewing brews Stonecutter's lager, Dragon's Back Pale Ale, Crooked Island Ale, Delainey's Ale and Red Dawn lager, which was launched in April and especially created to mark Hong Kong's handover.

South China Brewing general manager Scott Ashen said the name Red Dawn would be dropped after the handover, although the lager would be available under a new name. It has so far been a success. Other special beers may be produced at a later date.

'We are considering some new stuff for the autumn, but no definite plans have been made,' Mr Ashen said.

'We always talk about doing some seasonal things again, but we don't have anything firmed up at the moment.

'Last year we did a Christmas beer, Thunder Monkey, and I know we will probably consider doing one again, because it was very successful,' he said.

South China Brewing opened its Aberdeen plant in May 1995. Ambrew recently reached an agreement with the world's largest brewery, Anheuser-Busch, to make and market premium beers around the world.


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