A Competition to Design a New Branding of Cuban-Made Beer

Locally made beer, which had been common in stores and cafes throughout the island, has almost completely disappeared in the last two years. (14ymedio)

14ymedio bigger14ymedio, Havana, August 2, 2021 — A new beer will soon make its debut in Cuban market and overseas markets. On Monday the official press announced a competition, sponsored by Swinkels Family Brewers Spain (the holding company of Bavaria) and Cuba Ron, inviting Cuban designers to submit proposals for the name and graphic identity of the new beverage.

The new beer is scheduled to go on sale on July 7, 2022. According to the design brief, the trademark “should have identifiably Cuban attributes” and evoke feelings of national identity. Participants, a maximum of two per project, will have until August 5 to submit their designs along with a proposed name.

The beverage, to be manufactured on the island, is described by the companies as a lager-type beer, with 4.5% to 5.5% alcohol content. The designs must be adaptable to a returnable glass bottle or a 330 ml amber bottle, a 500 to 1000 ml green or amber bottle, and a disposable PET (plastic) bottle.

The winners will be invited to Europe to “work in collaboration on the final design.” Bavaria “will cover all travel and lodging costs and will handle visa processing if necessary.”

The brief states, “The winning project will become the intellectual property of the organizers.”

According to the state press, Bavaria has had a presence in Cuba, under both its own name and other brands such as Claro beer and Tigón energy drink, for more than twenty-five years. The company’s sales have come mainly from hard currency chain stores and the tourism sector.

It is almost impossible to find domestically produced beer on the shelves of local state-owned stores. The ones that are available are more expensive brands from Mexico, Panama, Europe and other far-off places.

In the last two years, locally produced beer, which had been common in stores and cafes throughout the island, has almost completely disappeared. It can now be purchased almost exclusively at privately owned stores, hotels, and through websites where Cuban émigrés can order merchandise to be delivered to their relatives on the island.

A 24-can carton of Cristal beer currently costs 2,000 pesos* on the black market. It is not even among the most commonly available brands such as Hollandia, Belga and Windmill.

Some Cuban beers are available from freely convertible hard currency stores (known commonly as MLCs) and restaurants which make home deliveries. A few privately owned cafes sell beers to go at prices around 100 pesos a can in Havana. These are typically sold in combos along with croquettes or other items.

*Translator’s note: $84 US at an exchange rate of 0.042 Cuban pesos to the dollar.


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