TBY talks to Iván Saldaña Varela General Manager, Cervecerías Baru Panama-Heineken on the sector.

Iván Saldaña Varela

Why did Heineken decide to open operations in Panama and what is the importance of the country at a regional level?

Heineken decided to enter the Panamanian market in 2002, with the acquisition of the Baru Panama Brewery. At the time, our presence in the Americas region was rather small, and Baru was facing operating and financial management difficulties. However when Heineken enters a market it always decides to do so for the long term. In the last five years in Panama, Heineken's investments, some USD70 million, have been oriented mainly toward machinery expansion and people training. Our employees are our best bet for growth in the more than 180 markets where we have a presence.

What are your main targets, ambitions, and goals for 2017?

Cervecerías Baru Panama, as part of the Heineken Group, is investing in Panama as part of a long-term vision. In order to improve and grow there are three key ingredients for a company: to bring great products into the market and innovate; the plant capacity to do so; and an efficient and committed team. Additionally, we are working toward 100% use of renewable energy in our plant operations, such as wind, solar, and water.