MIA Brewing at the 2015 Great American Beer Festival in Denver, Colorado.
MIA Brewing at the 2015 Great American Beer Festival in Denver, Colorado.
David Minsky

MIA Brewing Soon to Be on Tap at Perola Bar in Sint Maarten

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 Perola Bar to have a lineup of beers from MIA Brewing Company on tap, according to Lou Rodriguez, regional sales manager for the distributor. 

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 Perola Bar owner Royne Moreno, Rodriguez says, and he has a passion for craft beer. He was apparently scouting for product. MIA Brewing was one place on his itinerary, which also included Wynwood Brewing Company and Oakland Park's Funky Buddha Brewery. "We hit it off immediately," Rodriguez says. "He just loves the fact that Florida is blowing up." 

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, Perola Bar will have a "craft beer with rock 'n' roll" concept. It appears the bar is not yet open to the public. 

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. 

At Perola Bar, Rodriguez says the lineup will include six of MIA Brewing's flagship beers, including 305 Tropical Lager, Calle Oatcho Oatmeal Stout, and Tourist Trappe Tripel. It is another foray by Miami craft beer makers into the territory of Big Beer dominance. 

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." 

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