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Belgium - South American drinkers get a taste for Belgian beer

EU trade deals give small Belgian breweries access to new markets

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The 2013 EU trade deal with Columbia and Peru eliminated customs duties on beer from the EU and made rules for selling beer clearer. Belgium’s family-owned Huyghe Brewery has taken advantage of the simplified administrative requirements, posting substantial profits as a result.

Belgium's 168 breweries make more than 1,500 types of beer, of which 10% are produced by family-owned breweries such as Huyghe, founded in 1902 in Melle, Flanders. Delirium Tremens, Huyghe's flagship beer, is exported worldwide and accounts for 40% of the brewery's turnover. It is easily recognisable by its pink elephant symbol and white bottle.

Colombians and Peruvians are getting a taste for craft and foreign beer, whose market share stands at 2% and rising. In 2015, Huyghe's exports to Colombia went up by 100% in volume and 73% in value. This has helped keep the firm profitable.

More than 4,500 people work in the Belgian beer industry and a further 45,000 have jobs that depend on it. Over 60% of Belgium’s beer is sold abroad with exports four times higher than in 1990.

Discover more about the EU’s trade relations with Colombia and Peru