So Many Americans Are Visiting Cuba, It's Running Out Of Beer
Thanks to the massive influx of tourism brought about by the loosening of the United States' trade embargo with Cuba, the island nation is suffering a national crisis: It's running out of beer.
In 2015, the island nation welcomed approximately 161,000 American tourists — a 77 percent jump from the year prior. Though American tourists still represent only a small fraction of Cuba's total visitors (last year there were 3.5 million), more are expected to travel to the Caribbean country as trade relations continue to improve.
While this increase in tourism is good for the national economy, it's expanding at a pace difficult for local businesses to keep up with.
Because Cuba is a communist nation, most bars can only sell government-approved beers, such as those produced by local breweries. These are the bars hit hardest by the national beer shortage.
One manager explained,
Private bars can go out and find supplies where they can, [but] I can only sell what the government gives me.
As such, the increased demand for brew has left many bars running on empty.
Fortunately, Bucanero — Cuba's main brewer and the producer of the country's most popular beer, Cristal — is looking to expand its operations to include a second processing and bottling plant to keep up with demand.
In addition, the nation is expected to begin pushing economic reforms that will allow for more tourism and foreign commerce, lessening the burden on under-supplied, state-run facilities.
So if you're planning on going to Cuba anytime soon, maybe stick to rum — at least that, they still have in spades.