Steven Luke in Rio: Craft Beer Scene | NBC 7 San Diego

Steven Luke in Rio: Craft Beer Scene

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    NBC 7's Steven Luke, on assignment in Rio de Janeiro for the 2016 Rio Olympics, looks into the city's craft beer scene. (Published Monday, Aug. 15, 2016)

    Brazil is the land of picanha and cachaça but as you’re about to see, Brazilians are now letting craft beer go to their heads.

    There was a time not long ago when beer in Brazil came down to four mass-produced suds.

    “They were so tasteless, so weak,” said craft brewer Sergio Fraga.

    Fraga decided to change that 10 years ago, creating a series of home brews good enough to put his name on and start selling.

    He believes in it so much, he tattooed the basic recipe for it on his arm.

    “Water, malt, barley, hops, and yeast that produce the fermentation that converts it to beer,” Fraga explains.

    “He gave us the first taste and it was amazing,” said craft brewer Leo Gil.

    Leo Gil, another Brazilian beer blazer, remembers the first time he learned about craft beer.

    Now, Gil runs Three Monkeys brewery out of Rio De Janeiro.

    Brazil’s beer market is considered the third-largest in the world and, according to Forbes Magazine, the craft beer market is expanding annually. 

    However, making craft beer in Brazil isn’t easy. The bureaucracy can be crippling.

    Fraga waited seven years for a license to open up his brewery. Gil says the taxes are so punishing it drives up the cost.

    Diego Bajao figured out the formula for distributing craft beer in Brazil. Rio is the top consumer of beer on tap in all of Brazil so he opened a pub.

    “It was a first bar in Brazil that served craft beer on tap,” said Bajao. “Now, craft beer is Boom! It’s big. Every week it’s a different one.”

    Get more coverage from Rio de Janeiro here.

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