While Healthy and Cheap Food is Absent, Parranda Beer Arrives in Cuba in Half-Liter and a Liter-and-a-Half Bottles

A shipment of Parranda was already for sale this Thursday in the Havana market on 3rd and 70th. (14ymedio)

14ymedio bigger14ymedio, Havana, July 6, 2023 — Cubans who wanted to buy Parranda beer – created by an agreement between the Dutch company Bavaria and the state-owned Cuba Ron – have only been able to do so in the 3rd and 70th market in Havana and paying in freely convertible currency (MLC). The debut of the drink, packaged in a plastic bottle that already arouses ridicule and suspicion, was announced with great fanfare on its official Facebook page .

As this newspaper was able to verify, the customers who went to the store purchased a half-liter bottle of Parranda for a price of 1.20 MLC, while to purchase the liter and a half container the price was 2.95 MLC.

“It tastes like Cristal,” announced one of the vendors at 3rd and 70th, while responding to the customers’ dislike for the plastic container with a recommendation: “After drinking the beer, you can use it to store water.”

The brand also seems willing to be ecologically correct, since it proposed a “recycling policy” from its launch. Next to the promotional text of the label, whose motto is “United for beer,” written in honeyed advertising language and with a QR code, which reads: “Scan to find out how to get your deposit back.” The reward?: 0.10 MLC for each bottle.

The brewery, which began with a strong publicity campaign, has managed to get figures of Cuban culture related to the regime such as Alexánder Abreu, Mónica Mesa and former volleyball player Alain Roca – who presented a video of a visit to the factory – to promote the product.

Parranda’s presentation took place at the Havana International Fair (Fihav), held in November 2022. Those who knew about the next release of a light beer made on the island, with an alcohol level of 4.8 – less than the well-known Cristal (4.9) and Bucanero (5.4%) – and bottled in plastic, predicted that the brand would not be very successful. In addition, it was pointed out that a container with these characteristics would not support either conservation or the quality of the drink.

The beer – whose name is intended to evoke “the tradition of the popular festivals that are celebrated in the Cuban municipality of Remedios,” according to its promotion – had already been announced in August 2021, without the name being known at the time. The financing of the product will be the responsibility of Cuba and the Netherlands, with a mixed capital system.

De Parranda intends to manufacture a million hectoliters per year. “We have top quality technology from the product itself, to the fermentation and filter tanks, as well as the equipment with high quality standards,” its managers informed Cubadebate after the presentation.

However, the dependence on imported raw materials to manufacture Parranda’s plastic containers and the difficulty in repairing, in the precarious economic conditions in which the Island lives, the foreseeable breaks in the “modern technologies” that the factory boasts of, do not seem to augur a very festive future for the new national beer.


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