Beer in Sri Lanka
Brewing began in Sri Lanka in 1881 primarily to meet the needs of the colonial tea planters. Despite the country's tropical weather the preferred beer styles have remained relatively unchanged, with strong stouts remaining popular.
In 2011 Sri Lanka’s beer market was estimated to be around 51 million litres per annum, with per capita beer consumption at around 2.7 litres. An increase from 50 million litres and 2.45 litres in 2009. The beer market only represents 39% of the total legitimate alcohol market, the market share however is growing compared to the hard liquor segment. In 2011 the beer industry grew by 23 per cent in volumes against 10 per cent growth in the hard liquor segment. Out of the beer consumed in Sri Lanka 90% is manufactured locally with the remainder imported from Asian markets such as Vietnam, Singapore and India. The local beer market is currently occupied by three main brewers.
The largest of Sri Lanka's brewers is the Lion Brewery, which is also the oldest brewery in the country. It produces over 80% of Sri Lanka's beers. In 1988 it constructed a new brewery at Biyagama to replace the century-old facility at Nuwara Eliya. In 1993 the brewery became a subsidiary of Carson Cumberbatch & Co Ltd, and in 1996 the Carlsberg Group acquired a 25% share of the company. The brewery's portfolio includes lagers, strong beers and stouts, notably Lion, Lion Strong and Lion Stout. The company also brews Carlsberg and Guinness under licence. The brewery exports its beers to the U.S., Europe, Japan, Australia and the Maldives.
Sri Lanka's second largest brewer is Asia Pacific Brewery Lanka Limited, which acquired local brewer, United Brewery, in 2005. Asia Pacific Breweries is a Singaporean-based joint venture between Heineken International and Fraser and Neave. It has a brewery in Mawathagama where it produces a range of King beers, including Bison XXtra, Kings Lager, Kings Pilsner and Kings Stout.
The country's third and smallest brewer is the McCallum Brewery, which was established in 1963 in Meegoda. In 2011 the brewery was acquired by Cargills Ceylon PLC. It produces a number of lagers, ales and stouts, notably Three Coins and Sando Stout.
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