Swedish lovin’ American craft beers

So have you wondered by a growing number of Europeans seem to be posting tasting notes for U.S.-brewed beers at Beer Advocate and Rate Beer?

A press release from the Brewers Association the association’s Export Development Program:

Efforts from the Brewers Association’s (BA) Export Development Program (EDP) have made U.S. craft beer available across much of Europe largely in part due to relationships U.S. craft breweries established with Bier & Co. (Holland’s largest specialty beer importer/distributor).

In early 2007 Bier & Co. purchased four containers of U.S. craft beer (valued at $110,000) for distribution in the Netherlands, Germany, UK, Ireland, Greece, Italy, and Switzerland. Additionally, Netherlands retailer, Mitra, has approached Bier & Co. about mixed packs of U.S. craft beers in 350 of Mitra’s stores. The negotiations of this deal are ongoing.

Since 2004 the BA has used funds from United States Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Market Access Program (MAP) to help promote the importance of U.S. craft beer in Europe. The BA uses these funds to educate U.S. breweries about export opportunities and build global recognition for the diversity and quality of American craft beer.

In 2006 with MAP funds the BA brought two representatives from Bier & Co. to the Great American Beer Festival to educate them about U.S. craft beer. Bob Pease, Vice President of the Brewers Association says, “The relationships developed at the Great American Beer Festival between Bier & Co. and U.S. craft breweries helped seal deals between Bier & Co. and three U.S. craft breweries (five more are pending).”

In addition to work with Bier & Co. the BA has been able (with the MAP funds) to attend the Stockholm Beer and Whisky Festival. Since 2004, Systembolaget, Sweden’s alcohol retail monopoly, has added four U.S. craft brands to its general list and many more to its seasonal and limited-time offerings (these companies include: Boston Beer Company, Brooklyn Brewery, Great Divide Brewing Co, Flying Dog Brewery, North Coast Brewing Company, and Rogue Ales). Sweden now represents the largest export market for U.S. craft beers with exports in 2006 totaling in excess of $1 million. This figure does not include purchases from Left Hand Brewing Co. (Colorado), whose Milk Stout is set to launch in 200 stores in 2007.

Just in case you overlooked that last fact: Sweden now represents the largest export market for U.S. craft beers with exports in 2006 totaling in excess of $1 million.