Soon, you'll be able to drink Miami beer in the Caribbean. No, not on a luxury cruise, but in a bar on Sint Maarten—the Dutch side of the island Saint Martin.
Doral-based beer distributor Most Wanted Beverages cut a deal with the owner of
MIA Brewing owner Eddie Leon also has a stake in Most Wanted. This type of manufacturer-distributor relationship is allowable in Florida for a maximum of eight years, according to law.
While some Americans are busy seeking out foreign-import beers to drink, visitors from Latin America are taking stock of Miami's craft beer industry.
As Rodriguez tells the story, it all started when a couple of guys from Venezuela who randomly came into the MIA Brewing taproom struck up a conversation. One of them was
Moreno told Rodriguez that he and his business partner, both of whom Rodriguez says ran a marketing company, recently fled the inharmonious political climate in Venezuela and wanted to start a bar in the Caribbean.
They chose a place with an ocean view in Sint Maarten. According to its Instagram profile,
Then Moreno asked if Rodriguez could help him get beers to the island. Knowing the ubiquity of large imports in the region, Rodriguez was thrown off a bit. He says Moreno wanted to do something different.
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In a tropical island utopia gushing with mass-produced lagers such as Presidente, Corona, Carib, and Red Stripe, craft beers are making their way onto the scene. There are breweries such as Lazy Bones Beer in Antigua and Barbados' 10 Saints Brewery, which produces rum barrel-aged brews.
Craft beers as a whole are beginning to overtake larger brands in Latin America, with Miami being right on its doorstep. With that connection, it was only a matter of time before Miami became involved and it all started because of a conversation at a bar.
"The relationship was built of thin air," Rodriguez says. "I dunno if he's taking a chance on our brand, but I'm glad he is."