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Beer in Chile

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Beer in Chile

The primary beer brewed and consumed in Chile is pale lager, though the country also has a tradition of brewing corn beer, known as chicha. Chile’s beer history has a strong German influence – some of the bigger beer producers are from the country’s southern lake district, a region populated by a great number of German immigrants during the 19th century. Chile also produces English ale-style craft beers while also developing its own craft beer identity.



There is long tradition of brewing a drink called chicha that might be classified as corn beer by modern standards, though is not considered as such in South America. Chicha was originally brewed with corn, influenced by the Andean cultures of northern Chile and Peru, but during colonial times apple and grape chicha started to be brewed across the country as a cheaper alternative to wine. There were at least four major alcoholic drinks during colonial times in Chile: wine, pisco-aguardiente, apple chicha and grape chicha.

Modern beer (Spanish, cerveza chilena) history in Chile began in the 19th century when European beer was first introduced in the years after Chile gained independence. With the arrival of German immigrants around 1850, massive beer production began. By the end of the 19th century, beer was consumed all over the country. Beer consumption and culture then spread across the country from cities with high immigrant populations such as Valdivia and Valparaíso. In 1907, 20 million litres of beer were produced in Valdivia. By 1997, Chilean beer consumption reached 28 liters per year per capita., and by 2013 this had increased to 40 litres per year per capita.


Pisco, wine and rum are popular alcoholic drinks in Chile but there has been a slow increase in the sales of lager, pale ale from local microbreweries and imported pale lager. Although Chilean beer consumption is low compared to the rest of the South American region, beer is still the most consumed alcoholic beverage and takes 60% of the total market share for alcoholic drinks. Premium beers alone hold an 18% share of the total market, the highest share seen among the countries of the region. Craft beers in Chile Part of the so-called premium sector, craft beers have gained ground in recent years, and today there are more than 300 micro-breweries in Chile. Cía Cervecerías Unidas SA, a local company, is the leading Chilean beer company, producing mainly lager beers.

Chilean Beers

There are two main big industrial large-scale beer producers in Chile: Compañía de Cervecerías Unidas (CCU) and Cervecería Chile. All others are considered small producers (low volume) and/or craft producers.

Compañía de Cervecerías Unidas (CCU)

Created in 1902 with the merge of Plagemann, Limache and Gubler & Cousiño beer companies. They produce their own brands of beer and some international brands, along with soft drinks and other alcoholic products. Products include:

  • Cerveza Cristal and its varieties Cristal Light and Cristal Zero (non-alcoholic)
  • Escudo
  • Royal Guard and its variety Royal Guard Black Label
  • Malta Morenita
  • Dorada
  • Lemon Stones (low-alcohol lemon-flavored beer mix)
  • Heineken (under license)
  • Tecate (under license)
  • Coors and Coors Light (under license)
  • Sol (under license)
  • Cervecería Chile

    Produce their own brands and also many known international brands:. Products include:

  • Baltica
  • Becker
  • Malta del sur
  • Brahma (under license)
  • Beck’s (under license)
  • Paceña (under license)
  • Stella Artois (under license)
  • Quilmes (under license)
  • Small Producers or Premium Brands

    These include smaller volume beer producers and are considered premium brands.

  • Kuntsmann. From Valdivia, founded in 1850 as Anwandter Beer Company, destroyed in the 1960 Valdivia earthquake and refounded as Kunstmann Brewery, it is actually labeled as a craft beer, and is distributed by CCU. Produces a great variety of different types of beer including Torobayo, Lager, Bock, Honey, Blueberry, Wheat, Session IPA, Non-filtered and Non-alcoholic.
  • Austral. Founded circa 1896 in the Patagonia region in Punta Arenas as Cervecería La Patagona, later Polar Beer. It is the most southern beer company in the world. Produces varieties such as Lager, Ale, Torres del Paine, Yagán Dark and Patagona Pale Ale.
  • Some Other brands

    Other brands that are entirely considered as craft beers. They are generally low or very low volume producers. In Chile there are nearly 120 craft beer producers distributed along the 15 Chilean Regions. The list below includes:

  • Kross, from Curacaví near Santiago. Claims to have won more prizes than any other Chilean brewery in the last two years.
  • Capital, from Batuco, north of Santiago
  • Colonos, from LLanquihue, in the Los Lagos Region
  • Del Puerto, from Valparaíso, in the Valparaíso Region
  • D'olbeck, from Coyhaique, in the Aysén del General Carlos Ibáñez del Campo Region
  • Die M, from Paine near Santiago.
  • Grassau, from Villarrica, in the La Araucanía Region
  • Mestra, from Paine near Santiago
  • Polar Imperial, from Punta Arenas in the Magallanes y la Antártica Chilena Region.
  • Quimera, from Quinta Normal in Santiago
  • Salzburg, from Frutillar, in the Los Lagos Region.
  • Szot, from Talagante near Santiago
  • Volcanes del Sur, from Colbun, in the Maule Region.
  • References

    Beer in Chile Wikipedia

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