Success Stories



Rye, NY

Profile: The idea for CraftCanTravel came from a seasoned beer industry veteran, Maarten Kruijtzer, who realized how successful the business of exporting beers to different countries can be. In his experience, he found that there was a very niche market for exporting American craft beers around the world as different countries started to express interest in stronger, more flavorful brews. Following an extensive career building Heineken Brewery’s export business in a variety of countries around the world, Kruijtzer decided to start his own export company. With decades of experience in the beer industry, he launched CraftCanTravel in 2010. Since then, CraftCanTravel has exported beers to nearly 30 countries including Korea, Japan, Singapore and China.

Trade: CraftCanTravel’s relationship with its Korean partner began in 2012 with an inquiry about CraftCanTravel’s capabilities. Kruijtzer met with, and was intrigued by, his Korean partner’s small and focused organization in Korea. The pair decided to solidify their partnership, and quickly thereafter CraftCanTravel sent its first shipment of craft beer to Korea. While CraftCanTravel exports a variety of brands to different countries, it solely exports brews from the Kona Brewing Company in Hawaii to Korea. The company has gone to great lengths to gain a comprehensive understanding of the connection between Korea and the state of Hawaii, and has seen great success with a Hawaiian brew in Korea. The Korean market has responded very favorably to Kona’s brews, and CraftCanTravel has enjoyed its close-knit relationship with its Korean importer.

Growth: CraftCanTravel has seen its sales grow with help from tariff reductions under the U.S.-Korea Free Trade Agreement (KORUS FTA). Before the KORUS FTA was put into force in 2012, beer exports to Korea carried a 30 percent tariff. This tariff has been reduced to 8.5 percent and will be completely eliminated by 2018. Additionally, the Korean beer market has undergone a significant transformation over the past five years. Just like in many other countries across the globe, Koreans have started to prefer heavier, more flavorful beers that breweries in the United States are known for producing. Kona, specifically, uses ingredients that are local and unique to the Hawaiian islands. Kona bottle its beers in a few other locations in the United States, but use core ingredients from the islands and actually adjust the water mineral levels in bottling facilities to match the composition of Hawaiian water.

Advice: CraftCanTravel and its Korean partner work hard to foster their relationship; Kruijtzer visits Korea 2-3 times a year to make sure their product is up to par in the market. Overall, CraftCanTravel has had an excellent experience working in the Korean market. The company has had the unique opportunity to be an industry leader in exports from the U.S. to Korea. CraftCanTravel’s export success serves as an example of how prosperous the trade relationship can be between the two countries with hard work, communication and a quality product.  

“Doing business in Korea is a delight. We have serious, knowledgeable and focused partners as well as a welcoming consumer environment that has embraced innovative craft beers, specifically Kona.”

~Maarten Kruijtzer, Founder/Owner, CraftCanTravel

Local Resources

Select your state below for information on local resources that can help you take advantage of opportunities from the U.S.-Korea Free Trade Agreement. These resources include groups in both the public and private sector.

National Benefits

Main Exports
Semiconductors and components, Aerospace products, Chemicals

Main Imports
Communications equipment, Motor vehicles, Motor vehicle parts

Interesting Fact
In 2015, Korea was the United States’ 6th largest trading partner, while the United States was Korea’s 2nd largest.


Connect with Us