Red Stripe Jamaica assured shareholders on Friday that the plan to use cassava as an input in the manufacture of Red Stripe beer would not affect its flavour.
The company will replace imported American corn with locally grown cassava by 2016.
"There will be absolutely no impact on the quality of the beer," Managing Director Cedric Blair said at the company's annual general meeting at its complex in Kingston.
Blair said parent company Diageo produces a beer in Ghana with 70 per cent cassava; and that taste tests already done using 10 per cent cassava for Red Stripe detected no difference in flavour.
Corn currently makes up 40 per cent of the imported raw material input, while malt from Europe makes up the remaining 60 per cent according to Shane Healy, head of supply at Red Stripe.
"We are the leading lights of beer making in the world," said Healy.
"We are going to make our beers as good if not better using Jamaican materials. But only the US corn will be replaced and not the European malt."
Meet international standards
Red Stripe chairman Richard Byles assured the shareholders that the brewery would "never injure the quality" of the beer.
"It has to meet international standards and pass taste tests," he said, adding that shareholders would be invited to participate in those tests.
Red Stripe Jamaica is a J$13 billion company by revenue. The company is said to control about 80 per cent of the local beer market, but it also feeds markets overseas.
Revenue from the US market dropped sharply from J$2.3 billion in 2012 to J$565 million in 2013, but Byles said it represented the elimination of royalty fees after the company shifted strategy.
Red Stripe is now produced in the American market under contract. Byles said the outsourcing also eliminated the cost to Red Stripe Jamaica of advertising and promotions for that market.
The three key overseas markets, for Red Stripe are the US, United Kingdom, and Canada. The company continues to ship Red Stripe directly to Canada from Jamaica.
"We produce and sell about the same amount of Red Stripe in the US and UK as we do here," Byles said.
"Canada is a growing market and we love it," he said.