In tropical climates, there is nothing quite as refreshing as an ice-cold lager beer. With that in mind, Carib Brewery Ltd. produces two of the major brands in the market – Stag and Carib Lager. “Our brands revolve around consumers rather than a specific occasion because of the variety we produce,” Managing Director Gabriel Faria points out. “Most of our product usage is centered around conviviality. What this means is that when we look at the range of products and brands – from beer to stout, shandys, ginsengs and malta – you will see that they are focused on occasions that people want to and do remember, for the fact that they had good times with friends and family.”
Among the brands that Carib Brewery Ltd. produces are Stag Lager Beer, Carib Lager, Mackeson Stout, Malta, Smalta and Ginseng (nonalcoholic drinks) and Shandys, a blend of beer and one of four flavors – lime, ginger, lemon and sorrel, a fruit popular in Trinidad around the Christmas holidays. The brewery also produces under license for local and export consumption international brands including Guinness, Ginseng-Up, Heineken beer and Smirnoff Ice.
“Each of the brands is positioned differently in the marketplace, targeting different consumers,” Faria explains. “So Stag’s tagline of ‘A man’s beer’ speaks directly to its positioning as well as its qualities. It is a little bit more hoppy, more bitter than Carib, for example, which is a more nationalistic beer. Hence, its tagline – ‘Real beer is Carib’ – reflects not only this but also its status as our pioneer brand.”
Carib, which celebrates its 65th anniversary this year, is the No.1-selling beer in the Caribbean, with Stag a close second. “Our brands are the most widely consumed and available across the English-speaking Caribbean,” Faria asserts. “We are available to consumers from Jamaica to Guyana. Carib Brewery Ltd. enjoys the largest market share in each product category in Trinidad and Tobago.
“Over the last two years, a number of new beer and ‘near-beer’ international brands have entered the market and gotten small shares, signaling that today’s consumer is becoming more open to new brands and experiences,” he continues. “As such, we continuously keep abreast of global developments in the beverage markets so as to fuel our innovation pipelines.”
With three breweries in the region – in Trinidad, St. Kitts and Nevis, and Grenada – Carib Brewery Ltd. has a production capacity of more than 1.2 million hectoliters per year and employs in excess of 1,000 people to ensure efficient operation.
The company’s beer is sold mainly in 275 milliliter bottles and 330 milliliter cans. “The market is currently much larger for bottles than cans,” Faria says. “Both cans and draft are, however, small but growing segments of the market, and we have recognized the potential for growth in these areas.”
Across All Media
Carib Brewery Ltd.’s brands are marketed across all media, including television, radio, print, static and electronic billboards and digital media. “Stag and Carib, in terms of brand strength, would definitely be in the top five brands in Trinidad and Tobago,” Faria declares. “We are focused on continuously improving our consumer engagement through digital media – especially on mobile platforms – using either mobile apps or social media to allow consumers to engage with our brands.”
This customer engagement also involves creating opportunities for experiential marketing through sampling at events and the development of unique consumer experiences. “When we say consumer experiences, we are not only talking about tasting the products, but rather about engagement, which allows our consumers to interact and create memorable moments with our brands,” Faria says.
Carib Brewery Ltd. develops its new products based on global trends and insights from its consumers. “We continue to keep abreast of what is happening globally, and based on that, we do our market research,” Faria says. “Those results guide us as to what product development and innovation we need to do in the market.
“Innovation is a key growth pole for the organization,” he continues “We are, therefore, looking at the introduction of beer and other products to drive inorganic growth and increase market share. This includes the development of new brands in different categories that will no doubt expand the occasions for consumers to interact with our brands. Regionally, we will be a role-maker, not a role-taker in our industry, creating new trails rather than following the path of others.”
The brewery’s brands are distributed to the Caribbean and the United States, Canada, Europe, and as far away as Hong Kong. “Carib Brewery recently bought the global rights for Mackeson Milk Stout, with the exception of the United Kingdom,” Faria says. “This is directly in keeping with our objective of building a portfolio of global beverage brands and continuing to satisfy the consumers’ demand for refreshment. We also produce Ginseng-Up, a nonalcoholic product, and Smirnoff Ice, which we produce under license. We continue to look at developments in the marketplace.”
Faria attributes the company’s success to more than just understanding the consumer. “At Carib Brewery Ltd., we have invested and continue to invest heavily in ensuring that we offer high-quality products at the best value to our customers,” Faria emphasizes. “We have also streamlined our distribution, which has resulted in greater efficiency and ensures that the products are available and accessible to all. Carib Brewery Ltd. is recognized regionally for its benchmark, world-class products. While our consumers are open to new beverage experiences, our innovation focus is to continue to provide them with the highest quality products which meet and exceed their expectations. In fact, the company’s mission statement clearly states that ‘We exist to refresh and uplift our people worldwide with unique, appealing beverages to continuously create value for everyone we touch.’ This is the ideal to which we constantly aspire.”