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Florida invades the United States

Monday, November 12, 2012

Not the state. In the largest acquisition of a foreign operation by a Central American company, Florida Ice and Farm of Costa Rica last month paid $388 million to take over North American Breweries (NAB), whose assets include several American brands, from KPS Capital Partners, an American private equity firm.

The purchase represents new opportunities for Florida Ice.

With direct control from Costa Rica, NAB could increase exports to the United States of Florida Ice’s beer brands, including Imperial, the best known, as well as the company's fruit juices.

NAB has been the U.S. distributor of Florida Ice since 2008.

Florida Ice will face new challenges, as it competes in a market dominated by several megacervecerías, including Anheuser-Busch Inbev and SAB Miller.

However, craft beers and specialty, in the last three years have been the fastest growing segment among consumers in the United States.

In this context, several of Florida Ice’s new brands are interesting.

Genesee has been a popular beer in upstate New York, since its foundation in 1878.

Labatt Brewing Company is even older. Launched in Canada in 1847, the Labatt's brand was for much of the last century one of the two top Canadian beers before recently losing market share.