INTERNATIONAL BEER WITH NO BUZZ GOES ABROAD

It’s a sobering job. but somebody’s got to do it. The Richland Beverage Corporation of Dallas, makers of Texas Select nonalcoholic beer, sold 200,000 cases overseas last year. “Nonalcoholic beer is a big seller in Saudi Arabia,” says Manny Zelzer, president and owner of Richland, “because Moslem traditions prohibit alcoholic beverages.”

Richland’s largest overseas market is Japan, which has a very strict drinking-while-d riving law. It’s a growing Japanese trend to pick up a six-pack of Texas Select and drink it on the way home from work.

Richland is so good at selling the sober Texas image overseas that they’ve recently been awarded a $100,000 matching grant from a federal government program that aids companies making inroads into the massive American trade deficit. Zelzer says the overseas market is really taking off, while the domestic market is flat. “Americans have been drinking real beer for so long,” says Zelzer, “it’s hard to change their old habits.” And besides, he says, “Americans like the buzz.”

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