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CASTLE MALTING NEWS in partnership with Korean
26 November, 2022

Brewing news Uruguay: Unions halt import of Argentine-brewed beer into Uruguay

Unions have saved Uruguayan brewery workers from calamity after their actions prevailed in stopping Fábricas Nacionales de Cerveza (FNC) from importing domestic brands from Argentina, where production costs around half as much due to the currency exchange scenario, MercoPress reported on November 26.

The company would import the brands Pilsen and Norteña due to the increase in local costs but reversed its decision in the light of complaints from Uruguayan workers. FNC produces most of the big beers in the Uruguayan market, such as Pilsen, Norteña, Patricia, Zillertal. and Stella Artois. It also distributes brands such as Corona, Budweiser, and Patagonia.

The Federation of Beverage Workers and Employees and FNC reached an agreement this week after the union refused to distribute beers imported from Argentina. Production in Uruguay costs up to two and a half times more than in Argentina's Quilmes brewery.

The company had announced its decision regarding Pilsen and Norteña as the difference in production costs in Uruguay had been steadily increasing, which resulted in a strong increase in the presence of low-priced imported beers in the Uruguayan market, which sold for 30% less than beers made in Uruguay.

After the agreement, Norteña will again be bottled at the plant in Minas, in the department (province) of Vallejas while Patricia, Zillertal, and non-alcoholic Pilsen will not be replaced with Argentine production. However, Pilsen beers already produced in Argentina will still be distributed, including shipments due in the coming months, mainly due to the need for imports during the high-consumption summer season. In 2021 35.5 million liters of beer were imported into Uruguay, which represented 34.6% of the country's beer consumption.

FNC is a company heavily involved in the beverage industry and belongs to the Belgian multinational AB InBev.

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