SUCOs DO BRASIL – A little Latin America goes a long way in Neuss
Bright red lips round a yellow straw – that’s the trendy company logo of SUCOs DO BRASIL. Initially the sign for a Brazilian bar in the Wilhelm-Marx-Haus in Düsseldorf, today it stands for direct imports and wholesale in Brazilian and Latin American drinks and foods. Sucos do Brasil is now one of the main German importers of luxury items and foods from South America – both for bulk buyers such as the department store chain Galeria Kaufhof, or restaurant and catering businesses. In December 2011, the warehouse and sales facilities moved from Düsseldorf to Neuss, where the company found a property on the city border that offers a spacious 1,700 m2 warehouse area, 250 m2 of office space as well as ramps and plenty of space for incoming supplies and outgoing deliveries. When caipirinhas burst onto the scene in 1996/97, attention in Germany turned to Brazil and the lifestyle under Sugar Loaf Mountain. At that time the fine white Brazilian cane sugar was not available in this country, and that’s why barkeepers in Germany started using brown sugar instead, even though Brazilian white cane sugar, which is much finer than the normal German sugar, dissolves better and is ideal for enhancing taste. There is still a lot of work to be done in Germany re-educating people on this point because many still believe that a caipirinha contains brown cane sugar.
At the helm of Sucos do Brasil in Neuss is Christian Wurm. The 35-year-old has a Brazilian mother and grew up with the food, the language, the culture and the lifestyle of Brazil. Because there wasn’t much from Brazil to be found in his home city, Frankfurt, at a young age he began ordering goods from Brazil and selling them. This is how he met Wolfgang Genée, who founded the restaurant and bar Sucos do Brasil in 1984 in Düsseldorf and expanded it with a party service. But in order to cook or serve the national dish feijoada, you need black beans, which have to be imported first. So the two men joined forces: during the day Wurm worked as a product manager at Sucos, and in the evenings he studied business administration. When Genée retired in 2005, Christian Wurm took over the company completely and expanded it. Turnover increased tenfold from 2005 to 2012, and the warehouse in Flingern was bursting at the seams. A member of staff found the vacant property in Neuss, which ended the long search all round Düsseldorf – from Kaarst to Hilden – for a suitable large hall. The connection to the nearby A 52 is ideal, for most containers arrive in Rotterdam. The articulated lorries no longer have to fight their way through the city center of Düsseldorf. Turnover has continued increasing by 10 to 15 percent a year in the two years since Sucos do Brasil has resided in Neuss. Wurm is now counting on a wave of Brazil fever from the 2014 football World Cup and the Olympic Games in 2016. Wurm sees huge potential for Guaraná Antarctica, a typical Brazilian lemonade containing caffeine and guarana extract. The manufacturer of the drink is a sponsor of the Brazilian national team. This product also fits in with the trend in Germany for lifestyle lemonades. The Neuss company has now closed a cooperation agreement with wholesalers Lekkerland, which will sell Guaraná Antarctica during the World Cup via kiosks and garages.
These sporting events are throwing Brazil into the limelight. But Sucos do Brasil imports goods from all over Latin America. The beer Presidente from the Dominican Republic, for example, is selling like hot cakes. Many Germans know it from their holidays in the Dominican Republic and can take a taste of that Caribbean holiday feeling home with them. But other exotic beers like Cristal, the “Cerveza de los Andes” from Peru, and Cubanero Fuerte from Cuba are also on offer. Other products that are even more central to the Sucos range than beer are rum and cachaca. The Brazilian drink cachaca is distilled from freshly harvested sugarcane juice, while rum is made from sugarcane molasses – sugary syrup which is created as a secondary product when making sugar. No less than 100 of the 600 articles in the product range are various rum products from all over Latin America. That probably means Sucos do Brasil is one of the biggest rum importers in Germany in terms of product range. It supplies customers all over Europe, from Ireland to Greece.
Comparatively speaking, Brazilian wine accounts for a small segment. Although Brazil has wine-growing areas with similarly favorable conditions as in Argentina and Chile, Brazilian wines are almost unknown in Germany. While Brazil wasn’t a wine country at all in the 1990’s, demand there is now exploding. Since a new middle class started developing in this emerging nation, wine consumption has been increasing according to the same patterns in Europe. When the former Brazilian president Lula da Silva poured a red wine for Nicolas Sarkozy at an official state reception in 2008, the Frenchman praised the excellent Bordeaux – which was actually a Brazilian wine. At least, that’s how the story goes in Brazil. Wurm sells wines from the winery MIOLO, which was founded by Italian immigrants in 1900. French oenologists have now given the wine the final polish.
Christian Wurm tries to travel to Brazil at least once a year. Once there, he goes on a quest for new trends and products. If he can he goes to the supermarkets first to observe what the people are buying. But he also has a good network that quickly passes on information on new discoveries in the country, and trade fairs also showcase new items. Sucos is first and foremost a wholesaler, but it also sells its products to individuals online (www.brasil-latino.de).
As at: August 2013
SUCOs DO BRASIL-Productos Latino GmbH
Graf Landsberg Straße 9
Tel. 02131 40656-0
Fax 02131 40656-7