One Israeli with family ties to beer. One Brazilian making Japanese-inspired beers. Both met at a French course in Paris. One new business bringing international beers to the United States.

Beerternational, started by Pooah Alon in 2018, follows a unique model.

Instead of importing international beers, which can be costly and potentially compromise the quality, Alon had the idea to contract brew for international breweries in the States, representing the brand from all aspects, including brewing to marketing to distribution.

Over the last five years, Alon has traveled the world drinking beer and brought the world of beer here to America.

With four international brands under its umbrella now—Japas Cervejaria from Brazil, Oslo Brewing Company from Norway, Cervejaria Narcose also from Brazil, and Schnitt Brewing Company from Israel—Beerternational opens beer’s borders in America.

From Israeli Bartender to French Bar Goer to Beerternational Founder

schnitt brewing company
Photography courtesy of Schnitt Brewing Company

You could say that beer runs in Alon’s blood. Her brother, Yoav Alon, and his partners opened the first bar in Israel dedicated to premium beer—think Belgium and Trappist beers—and later, Schnitt Brewing Company (whose beers Alon would eventually bring to the U.S.).

“They’re considered like the godfathers of Israeli craft beer,” says Alon, who herself started off bartending in Tel Aviv.

Building on the bar’s success, Alon’s brother and business partner started Norman Premium, the first company in Israel to import premium beers like Duvel, Chimay, St. Bernardus, Fullers, and even Brooklyn Brewery.

Alon joined the company as a sales rep in 2007. For two and a half years, “I got to know all the brands and learn more about Belgian and Trappist beers with all the history and amazing stories behind those brands,” she says.

In 2010, Alon temporarily moved to Paris to study French.

One day, perhaps fortuitously, a woman walked in late to class, settling down next to Alon.

“We instantly started to talk,” says São Paulo-based Japas Cervejaria Co-Founder Maíra Kimura. “We’ve been friends ever since.”

Finding a shared love of beer, Alon and Kimura spent time outside class drinking at local beer bars. “We took everyone there all the time,” says Kimura. “It was really cool.”

Staying in touch even after they left France, Kimura visited Alon in Israel, and Alon went to Brazil.

The whole time each continued their career in the industry, with Alon taking over as marketing director of Norman Premium until 2015, when her husband’s work relocated them to Boston.

In Massachusetts, Alon started conducting tours for Sam Adams, always finding a way to work Israeli craft beer into her sessions. “People definitely got really intrigued by the fact that Israel has craft beer,” says Alon. “So I thought I should import Israeli beers to the U.S.”

But bringing in beers from another country proved very tricky and very expensive very quickly.

“I would have to sell an unknown Israeli craft beer pretty much at the price of a Chimay Blue, so I thought this is not going to happen,” says Alon.

That’s when the proverbial light bulb switched on.

“Instead of importing [a product with] ninety-five percent water and shipping it across the world, why not produce those beers locally here in the U.S?” she queried. “Everything would be much easier, and the beer would be much fresher.”

When Alon’s husband thought up the name Beerternational, everything clicked. “Why am I limiting myself only to Israeli beers?” Alon thought. “Everyone wants to be present and known in the U.S. This could be a platform for international craft breweries from all over the world to brew and sell their beers here.”

Beerternational Brings Brazilian-Japanese Brewery to the U.S.

beerternational founder pooah alon and japas cervejaria co-founder maira kimura
Photography courtesy of Beerternational

Five minutes after her eureka moment, guess who Alon called?

Her good friend Kimura.

In the interim, Kimura started her own brewery in Brazil called Japas Cervejaria, focusing on representing her and her two co-founders’ Nipo-Brazilian heritage (someone born in Brazil of Japanese descent).

“She called me once saying I think I have an idea: Let’s make your brand here,” says Kimura. “[Immediately], we started to work.”

With Alon’s help, Japas Cervejaria’s distinct brand has impressed Americans, growing steadily over the last five years. Currently, you can find Japas’ beers in eleven states.

For instance, the best-selling Matsurika, a Bohemian pilsner with jasmine flowers. Or the uber-popular Oishii, a Belgian witbier with ginger.

“This has been a great challenge and joy to be a part of from the beginning,” says Kimura. “She always listens to us … and we do it together. It’s like she’s our partner; it’s a really intertwined business in the States.”

Kimura says Japas initially worried that Americans would ignore the niche brand.

“But Beerternational worked to make the brand known, and it was very well received, even more so than in Brazil,” says Kimura, noting while Japas Cervejaria is just another brewery in Brazil, in the States, they have a unique narrative. “[In Brazil], we’re Japanese people who make beer, but in the States, we are four women of Japanese descent from Brazil, so it’s very different.”

Overall, Kimura says, “We’ve felt valued, the products have gotten good reviews, and people have talked about us, so it’s good!”

In some small (or perhaps big) way, Beerternational partnering with Japas became a microcosm for the entire business, setting the tone for Alon’s trajectory.

“I love saying I’m Israeli; [Maíra’s] Brazilian; we met in France; the beers are Japanese-inspired, and we’re brewing them in the U.S.”

Beerternational, Like One Big Happy Family

japas cervejaria co-founders beerternational
Japas Cervejaria Co-Founders | Photography courtesy of Japas Cervejaria

For breweries looking to bring their beers to the States, Beerternational covers a lot of logistical and operational challenges.

“Basically, it’s a platform for international craft breweries to brew and sell their beers here in the U.S.,” says Alon.

But that simple one-sentence belies everything Beerternational does.

Because when you join Beerternational, you become not just a brand in a portfolio but also a member of one big happy family.

To give you a small idea: Alon sources the right brewery to contract brew in the U.S., handles the distribution of the beers to various states, makes sure the labels pass Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau (TTB) inspection, manages all the marketing, and, perhaps most challenging, sources ingredients for specific beers that are often non-native to the States.

Alon wants to ensure that the recipes Beerternational represent stay as faithful as possible to how these beers are produced in their home countries. “One of the biggest challenges is to find the fruits, flowers, or special ingredients that are sometimes very common in those countries but are more challenging to find and source here in the U.S.,” says Alon.

For instance, yuzu, a Japanese citrus fruit, or anko, a red bean paste often found in Japanese desserts, for a couple of Japas’ beers.

Both of which Alon eventually found and sourced.

It’s going that extra mile that impressed Oslo Brewing.

Oslo Brewing: Representing Nordic Culture in Craft Beer

oslo brewing oslove blonde ale
Photography courtesy of Olso Brewing Company

Oslo Brewing Company Co-Founder Dimitri Yogaratnam grew up in Rhode Island but started a brewery in Oslo, Norway, with a bunch of his buddies in 2015. Contract brewing across the world, Oslo showcased its beers to various countries (such as Japan). But Yogaratnam always dreamed of bringing his beers back to his home state.

“That ended up being really challenging [because] where I’m from is right near Tree House, Trillium, and some of the best breweries in the world,” he says. “I can’t bring my IPA over, keep it on the boat for three months, and it’s just as expensive or more than Trillium or Tree House; that doesn’t make any sense.”

During a research trip to Boston, one of Yogaratnam’s co-founders took a tour of Boston Beer Co.

Guess who led that tour?

A huge fan of Israel, that colleague jotted down Alon’s number.

“It stuck in his head,” says Yogaratnam. “One night, he called me at 3 am, after he had a few of our products, and said we have to open a bar in Israel.”

Yogaratnam told him they’d talk in the morning, but he insisted he knew someone to call.

When they phoned Alon, she told them she couldn’t help them open a bar in Israel, but did they want to start making and distributing their beers in the U.S.

oslo brewing company team
Photography courtesy of Oslo Brewing Company

“That super exciting conversation happened so randomly,” laughs Yogaratnam.

Alon agrees, saying, “There are fantastic people. … I also felt this was meant to be.”

And three years later, Yogaratnam could not be happier they spoke.

Oslo’s beers, such as their best-selling Nordic Pilsner, take easy-drinking beer styles and inject respect for nature and Norwegian culture. Yogaratnam describes Oslo beers as crushable ones made for the outdoors. For instance, Oslove, a blonde ale with passion fruit brewed for the Oslo Pride festival to celebrate the Queer community.

When bringing their beer to a new country, Yogaratnam says there is always a worry about placing your brand integrity into someone else’s hands.

“The relationship with Pooah has been great because she is extremely passionate but also super respectful of the brands,” he says. “We definitely gave her the ball and wanted her to run with it, but at every step of the way, she made sure we’re represented well and the product is great.”

An experience Yogaratnam hasn’t always had.

For instance, when a partner in Malaysia sexualized their Norwegian Blonde ale in advertising campaigns, “That wasn’t the brand we wanted to be at all,” he says. “It was something very off-brand for us.”

But with Beerternational, “[Alon] wants to understand the brands, knows what we like, and follows the rules,” says Yogaratnam. “We know for every step we take, Pooah takes five.”

While Oslo’s beers are already available in New York, Massachusetts, California, Florida, Colorado, Pennsylvania, and Yogaratnam’s home state of Rhode Island, Oslo plans to expand into the Midwest this year, targeting areas with Norwegian expats.

“My ambition [for Oslo] … we want to have that connection to nature, skiing, outdoors, and hiking,” says Yogaratnam. “If you’re in the mountains, you should have a Nordic pilsner; that’s the brand we want to be.”

Charting the Next Course for Beerternational?

cervejari narcose lager life beerternational
Photography courtesy of Cervejaria Narcose

At the moment, along with Japas Cervejaria and Oslo Brewing, Beerternational represents two more brands.

The family-owned, award-winning Cervejaria Narcose from Capão da Canoa in the South of Brazil reflects the family’s love of the sea (they’re all certified scuba divers). Head Brewer Daniel Diehl trained as a marine biologist before turning to beer. A considerable portfolio includes mostly classic styles and lagers incorporating tropical Brazilian ingredients.

In three states in the U.S— including California, New York, and Wisconsin—you’ll find beers like Tropical Lager, a Brazilian-style pilsner with natural lime flavor, an award-winning German-style pilsner, the silver-award-winning Whale-Tail passion fruit pale ale, and Guava Lava, a gose with guava, lemon peel, coriander, and salt.

schnitt brewing company beerternational
Photography courtesy of Schnitt Brewing Company

Also, a family-owned affair close to Alon, Schnitt Brewing Company, was started by Alon’s brother Yoav Alon and his business partners Amir Neuman and Itai Laifer in Israel.

A brewpub in the heart of Tel Aviv, Schnitt “changed the Israeli industry yet again when they brewed over 100 different styles in one year,” says Alon. “That’s really unheard of in Israel.”

Now, Alon brings her family’s creations, such as Jaffa West Coast IPA with orange, Tel Aviv Summer blonde ale, WheaTLV Belgian-style wheat beer, and Malabiscus Sour with rose petals and hibiscus to New York and Florida with plans to distribute to Massachusetts and Rhode Island soon.

For now, Alon is content representing these four breweries, bringing their cultures and dreams to American drinkers.

Alon hopes that Beerternational becomes synonymous with great international craft breweries and brands.

“I know it sounds a bit cliche, but [I love] connecting people from different cultures and different places through this amazing drink,” she says. “A lot of people don’t know there are really cool breweries in Norway or Brazil or Israel, so I’m very happy to … expand the range of these great brands and their unique beers and flavors.”

Hop Culture’s Favorite Beers to Try From Beerternational’s Portfolio

These are just a few of our favorites from Beerternational’s breweries but feel free to check them all out yourself. And then use Beerternational’s beer searcher to find these beers below at a store near you!


Matsurika – Japas Cervejaria

japas cervejaria matsurika bohemian pilsner
Photography courtesy of Bruno Fujii | Japas Cervejaria

Pilsner — Japas Cervejaria’s best-selling beer in the U.S. also made our list of “The 27 Best Beers We Drank in 2022.” A bohemian pilsner featuring jasmine petals, a common ingredient in traditional Japanese tea, Matsurika drinks soft and delicate. With brilliant floral notes, Matsurika brings a beautiful drinking experience to the palate.

States Where You Can Find Japas Cervejaria’s Beers — CA, CO, FL, MA, MI, NY, OR, PA, RI, SC, WI

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Oishii – Japas Cervejaria

Witbier — A Belgian witbier, Oishii includes an ingredient prominent in Japanese culture—ginger. Slightly spicy, perhaps mimicking the coriander you’d traditionally find in a Belgian witbier, this unique product gives a new spin to a European classic. Translating to “yummy” in English, Oishii will have you saying just that at the end of every sip.

States Where You Can Find Japas Cervejaria’s Beers — CA, CO, FL, MA, MI, NY, OR, PA, RI, SC, WI

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Nordic Pilsner – Oslo Brewing

oslo brewing company nordic pilsner and norwegian blonde
Mock-ups courtesy of Beerternational

Pilsner — Oslo’s best-selling beer in the States, Nordic Pilsner, represents the brewery’s take on a pilsner with a bit of a Norwegian spin. Bright, clean, slightly floral, Nordic Pilsner is the kind of beer you always want attached to your hip (well, we suppose your hand) for any occasion.

States Where You Can Find Oslo’s Beers — CA, CO, FL, MA, NY, PA, RI

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Oslove – Oslo Brewing

Blonde Ale — A beer with means beyond the liquid. Brewed to represent unity and love in Oslo, Oslove celebrates the Queer community in Norway’s capital. A refreshing, tropical blonde ale, Oslove includes passion fruit for a unique take on a traditional beer style. As Oslo Brewing writes in the beer’s Untappd description, “Oslove is a beer for all who want to celebrate the good in human beings and positive human values in an upbeat and refreshing fashion.”

States Where You Can Find Oslo’s Beers — CA, CO, FL, MA, NY, PA, RI

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Lager – Cervejaria Narcose

cervejaria narcose lager german pilsner
Photography courtesy of Cervejaria Narcose

German-Style Pilsner — The 2021 winner for the best pilsner in Brazil and a silver medal as Best In Show at the PRATA competition, one of the most prestigious beer competitions in Brazil, Lager seems simple on the outside. But this is actually a fairly complex beer to brew. Still, it’s hard to resist when this one drinks as smooth and sophisticated as a sunset at the beach.

States Where You Can Find Cervejaria Narcose’s Beers — CA, NY, WI

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Whale-Tail – Cervejaria Narcose

Pale Ale — Another award-winning beer (this time a silver at PRATA in 2022 in the “Best Pale Ale” category), Whale-Tail takes a classic pale ale and injects something tropical—passion fruit. Just a fun, crazy, creative beer.

States Where You Can Find Cervejaria Narcose’s Beers — CA, NY, WI

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Jaffa IPA – Schnitt Brewing Company

schnitt brewing company tel aviv summer and jaffa ipa
Mock-ups courtesy of Beerternational

West Coast IPA — Named after Jaffa, the historic Israeli city (now a part of Tel Aviv) known for exporting oranges around the world, Jaffa IPA adds actual citrus to this West Coast-style IPA. Big, bold, and a little fruity, Jaffa IPA tells you a lot about Schniit itself—a new brewpub in an old city with a bit of wit and a lot of craft.

States Where You Can Find Schnitt’s Beers — FL and NY. MA and RI coming soon.

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Malabiscus Sour – Schnitt Brewing Company

Fruited Sour — Based on a traditional Mediterranean dessert with rose water called Malabi, Malabiscus Sour includes rose petals and hibiscus. Equal parts pink, tart, and thirst-quenching.

States Where You Can Find Schnitt’s Beers — FL and NY. MA and RI coming soon.

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