Most U.S. beer importers bring in the finished product from abroad. Pooah Alon does it differently. She says she acts like an importer, but her company Beerternational produces the foreign brands’ craft beers in the USA.
Alon, who is based in New York, contracts with U.S. breweries to make the beers of four foreign brands: Brazilian breweries Japas Cervejaria and Cervejaria Narcose, Norway’s Oslo Brewing Company and Israel’s Schnitt Brewing Company.
“Beerternational is a unique opportunity that allows international breweries to enter U.S. markets in a cost-effective and efficient way,” Alon says. “Consumers can now try unique beers from international breweries without having to travel abroad and at an affordable price.”
Alon is an Israeli who worked in Israel’s craft beer industry for more than a decade. She relocated to the USA, worked at Boston Beer Company and became a certified cicerone.
After leaving the Boston Beer Company, she initially contemplated importing only Israeli craft beers. “But after a few months going over the process and the numbers, I realized it would be extremely challenging, and the beers would need to be priced very high,” she says.
A few months later, Alon got the idea of producing the beers locally instead of importing them.
“It made a lot of sense, because there are so many advantages,” she explains. “I wouldn’t need to deal with all the logistics and expenses of shipping. The beer would be fresher, the pricing would be better, and I could adapt the packaging to the local market and produce kegs. I felt that a huge weight was lifted off my shoulders.”
Alon and her husband Shahar named the company Beerternational, and she realized she shouldn’t limit the company to Israeli beers.
“Five minutes later, I called my long-time friend Maíra from Japas Cervejaria (brewery co-founder Maíra Kimura) and asked her whether Japas would be interested in me representing them in the U.S. They said yes, and Beerternational was started.”
Beerternational began marketing Japas Cervejaria beers in the USA at the Extreme Beer Fest in Boston in 2019. The first beers introduced to the market were Matsurika, a Bohemian pilsner with jasmine flowers, and Wasabiru, a pale ale with wasabi.
Beerternational contracts with Chicago-based Great Central Brewing to brew Japas Cervejaria beers, and they are sold in 11 states: New York, California, Colorado, Oregon, Florida, South Carolina, Pennsylvania, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, Michigan and Wisconsin.
Beers of Cervejaria Narcose and Oslo Brewing are brewed at Kentucky’s Against The Grain brewery. Cervejaria Narcose beers are sold in three states, and Oslo Brewing beers are sold in six states. Long Island’s Great South Bay Brewery brews the beers of Schnitt Brewing Company, and they are sold in three states.
Besides working with contract brewers to produce her clients’ beers, Alon sources ingredients, develops recipes and works with label, packaging and distribution partners.
“We believe that international breweries have a lot to offer in terms of flavor and brand identity,” Alon says, “and we are dedicated to supporting and promoting their growth in the U.S. By partnering with local breweries to produce the beers, we are able to reduce our carbon footprint and offer a fresher product to our customers while maintaining a competitive price.”