By Ruth Faulkner, Contributing Reporter
RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL – German company Underberg KG’s Brazilian arm is making a big splash into the world market with their distinct brew; Brasilberg. A milder flavor than the 170 year-old German Underberg, the Brasilberg is making its name internationally, entering awards and breaking into new markets.
The Brasilberg brand has its own rich history with eighty years in Brazil, first produced by founder Paul Underberg in 1932. Marcus Rumen, Director of Underberg Brasil explained that it is this history that is the brew’s greatest trait.
“The main image that Brazilian consumers have is the product’s image of quality and tradition,” Rumen told The Rio Times; “The Brasilberg was originally introduced mainly in the states of German and Italian colonization, which have a very strong connection with the bitter taste. These colonies identified with this type of bitter taste and for this reason the product has become so popular.”
Brasilberg uses Amazon Brazilian herbs in its recipe, giving a unique flavor. As a natural drink, without preservatives, the herbs are harvested with careful selection and quality control. The recipe is an Underberg family secret, passed on from generation to generation from the days of Paul Underberg.
Fans of the drink believe in its digestive powers. There are arguments that it should be drunk like a liqueur or aperitif, in delicate glasses, pure, with ice or in the form of a cocktail. The most popular Brasilberg ‘cocktail’ is named ‘Rio Negro’ – Brasilberg with tonic water and ice.
“The drink is the market leader in the bitter segment in the states of Rio Grande do Sul, Santa Catarina and Paraná, while Campari remains the market leader at the national level. In such a tough market, this acceptance is excellent. The Brazilian consumer has an emotional link with the Brasilberg brand,” said Rumen.
In 2014, the Brasilberg sold 800,000 bottles and recorded a nine percent increase in revenues and an increase of four percent in sales volume compared to 2013. This growth has been attributed to successful marketing activities, including the popular “venture out” campaign featuring Rio’s Tijuca forest. Underberg of Brazil expect a strong 2015, forecasting an increase of 6 percent in sales compared to 2014.
From their headquarters in São Cristóvão, Rio de Janeiro, the brewers have their eyes on the world stage. The Brasilberg products can now be found in Norway and Denmark, markets served by the brand distributor in Germany, and this year the product will arrive in Austria, Switzerland and Fiji.
“Our goal is to gain international recognition for the brand, with upcoming competitions and awards we will develop a brand positioning in the international market. We have already started to export to Germany, Norway, Denmark, Paraguay, and now we are negotiating an export to Bolivia,” Rumen proudly explained. “It’s time to internationalize the product. This is the moment!”