Craft Brewing Migrates South to Mexico
Ken Ellingwood had a fantastic article in yesterday's Los Angeles Times about a new wave of craft breweries in Mexico. It seems like a natural fit--Mexico has long had a great beer-drinking culture, and back in the dark days of hyper-consolidation in the US, Mexican beer was often the best and most diverse variety on supermarket shelves.
Mostly self-taught, the Mexican brewers have launched an array of offerings, from Belgian-style wheat beers and imperial stouts to an ale aged in tequila barrels. They want to translate a hobby into commercial success in a country that is increasingly quick to embrace foreign trends, from smartphones to designer coffee.There is a problem, though: consolidation left Mexico with two brewing giants, and they have all the legal and institutional power to quash the upstarts.
"There's a niche. People are looking for something different," said Jaime Andreu, commercial director of the Primus Brewery and spokesman for the Mexican microbrewers association, which has 16 members.
The newcomers say the vast majority of restaurants and bars in Mexico are off-limits because the establishments have agreements to buy only from one of the two giants, Grupo Modelo or Cuauhtemoc Moctezuma, in exchange for equipment and discounts.The little breweries have a few cards to play, but I won't spoil the ending. Go read the article--it's fascinating stuff.