Pacific Rim Distributors brings tasty Canadian craft beer to thirsty Asian markets

Canadian Trade Commissioner Service - Date Modified: 2019-02-11

Garett Senez may have fallen in love with craft beer, but he isn’t willing to pay $35 a pint when he travels overseas.

Senez, vice-president of marketing at Vancouver-based Pacific Rim Distributors, tapped into Asia’s craft-beer market by connecting Canadian breweries to international buyers.

But there’s a cost to quenching thirst in global markets one case of beer at a time: high tariffs can be a roadblock for small breweries.

The good news is that this will change under the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP). Tariffs on sought-after Canadian craft beer in CPTPP countries will decrease or disappear entirely under the new agreement.

This is why trade agreements are critical, according to Senez. As large markets such as Singapore implement the agreement, the breweries that Pacific Rim Distributors represents should record more and more sales.

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“It’s amazing,” Senez says. “The CPTPP has a direct influence on our business. It will not only encourage trade, but also strengthen relationships between member countries.”

Pacific Rim Distributors was created in 2016 to take advantage of opportunities in Asia-Pacific markets. Breweries in Canada make high-quality beer, but needed the backing of Pacific Rim Distributors to bring it to market in this part of the world.

Since the new Asia-Pacific region trade agreement came into effect, Senez has scouted potential markets in member countries. Pacific Rim Distributors had never considered exporting Canadian craft beer to Vietnam, for instance, but the CPTPP puts this option on the table. He expects Pacific Rim Distributors to export Canadian craft beer to Malaysia starting in July.

Senez attributes some of Pacific Rim Distributors’ rapid success to support and guidance from Canada’s Trade Commissioner Service.

“The trade commissioner literally sat in on every single meeting we had in Taiwan,” Senez says. “The meetings focused on finalizing a deal to have convenience-store chain 7-Eleven distribute our clients’ craft beers.”

Pacific Rim Distributors will continue to surf the craft-beer wave and bring the best brew to beachfront resorts in Singapore and beyond.