Magna Special Craft, the first premium beer produced in Puerto Rico, is now on the market, Cervecera de Puerto Rico said.

After three years of planning and an investment of more than $1 million, the new suds will compete "on equal terms with the world's best premium beers," Cervecera de Puerto Rico chief Camalia Valdez said.

Noteworthy among Magna Special Craft's premium ingredients are the "noble" Saaz hops, produced in the Czech Republic and among the most sophisticated in the world, Valdez said.

The product contains no additives nor preservatives, and has 150 calories and a 5.1 percent alcohol content, Valdez said.

Cervecera de Puerto Rico also brews the local beers Medalla Light and Silver Key Light plus the non-alcoholic barley drink Malta India.

The short-term goal for Magna Special Craft is to win a 1 percent share of the island's beer market, estimated at 50 million gallons per year, Cervecera de Puerto Rico said.
Premium beers account for 18.6 percent of total beer sales in Puerto Rico, the brewery said.

The premium segment, according to market research firm Symphony IRI, notched sales of 9.3 million gallons or 4.1 million cases of beer over the last 12 months.

Magna Special Craft will compete with Holland's Heineken and Buckler, Mexico's Corona, the U.S. brands Michelob Ultra and Miller Genuine Draft, Presidente from the Dominican Republic, Italy's Peroni and Stella Artois from Belgium.

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