Red Stripe, part of the HEINEKEN company, ships their first container to the United States today 4 years after production of Red Stripe for the US market was moved to the brewery of City Brewing in Pennsylvania, USA in 2012.
This historic move is core to the company’s mission of re-establishing Jamaica as the global hub for the iconic Jamaican brand. In 2012, Red Stripe took the very difficult decision to move its export operations to the United States as part of a broader cost reduction strategy aimed at stemming the performance slide driven by two successive years of significant volume decline.
Against this background, the restructuring exercise was a last resort and Red Stripe remained staunchly committed to managing a business that would be able to survive tough times.
Recognizing Jamaica’s improving macroeconomic conditions coupled with major investments made by the brewing giant to expand capacity and improve efficiencies Red Stripe is making good on its word by bringing US volumes back home. “It feels very good to bring Red Stripe back to its roots and resume exporting it to the US market from Jamaica. This is one of a series of actions we have planned for Red Stripe’s strategic positioning as a key Global brand. It will represent a substantial investment by the company to ensure that the brewery is best positioned to deliver a competitive and consistently high quality product with reliable supply to the North American market,” said Ricardo Nuncio, Managing Director of Red Stripe.
With the re-instatement of exports to the United States Red Stripe has hired an additional 50 employees and will take on another 30 by the end of September 2016 in the areas of Brewing, Engineering, Packaging and Logistics.
Since November 2015, Red Stripe has moved from a two team operation to a three team operation with the plant being run 5 days each week. Upon completion of this recruitment exercise to ensure adequate human capacity consistent with the company’s growth trajectory for increased exports and domestic sales Red Stripe will have in place a four team operation, running a 24 hour operation.
“Putting Jamaicans to work will support the country’s efforts to get the economy growing and Jamaicans employed in productive enterprise,” said Richard Byles, Chairman of the Board of Directors who gave the nod for the repatriation on December 17, 2015.
Red Stripe has invested over Euro 16 million or J$2.2 Billion in plant upgrades and increases in staff capacity as it looks forward to its first shipment. Among the upgrades to its production facilities in preparation for this historic milestone in the life of the brewing giant were the modernisation of the brewery, the installation of a combined heat and power plant (CHP), the commissioning of a new 12 pack machine and the complete overhaul of the existing packaging line.
There is tremendous excitement for the return of the brand to its roots. “Red Stripe perfectly embodies the spirit and culture of its home country, and HEINEKEN USA is proud to raise a glass to what we know will be a very promising future for the brand,” said Ronald den Elzen, Chief Executive Officer at HEINEKEN USA. “With today’s ceremonial first shipment, we’re proud to mark a new chapter for Red Stripe— one that will bring its authentic taste of Jamaica to millions of customers in U.S.”