Cerveza Artesanales de México, Part 2

I have lately been doing most of my traveling in Europe, and when you drop into a brewpub or craft beer bar in, say Dublin or Copenhagen, you're likely to find a range of beers that deviates not remarkably from the United States. I imagined Mexico, our closest neighbor, would be equally influenced by American craft brewing. As is so often the case, I was wrong.

Anecdotally, I gathered that Mexico's craft breweries were were starting basically where Americans did--mostly English-influenced ales, with an emphasis on dark lagers and pales ales. IPAs, outside of the borderlands just south of California, are not really into IPAs, I was told. Fortunately, we can go beyond anecdotes. Tero Moliis is the founder of Maltapp, the main Mexican beer app (something of a cross between BeerAdvocate and Untapped). He looked into his database and pulled these numbers for me:

  1. Pale Ale (250+ beers)
  2. Stout (150+ beers)
  3. Lager (100+ beers)
  4. Red Ale (~90 beers)
  5. Blonde Ale (~80 beers)
  6. Wheat beers and porters (~75 each)
  7. Pilsner and brown ales (~65 each)
There is a strong trend towards introducing more IPAs to the market, as well as novelty beers that contain local elements, such as coffee, chocolate, chilli, and so on, but as Mexicans are traditionally very committed light lager drinkers, the most commercially popular craft beers have been the ones offering more common or widely-accepted flavours and styles.
— Tero Moliis

He added a bit more context on where you can find the beers, too.

The biggest concentrations of breweries in Mexico can be found in Baja California, Mexico City, Monterrey and Guadalajara, and it is also in these areas that most new breweries appear, although there are breweries popping up all over the country, truly from coast to coast and even in the smallest of places, giving the market an impressive variety of styles and types of beer. There are now clear definitions of "regional styles," but definitively the Baja region produces beers more aligned with the tastes prevalent in California, and the other regions focus more on the tastes of the domestic market.

It is our estimation that over 85% of the national breweries currently produce less than 1000 barrels per year, but there is an amazing potential for growth for the craft beer industry in Mexico, as currently craft beer sales account for only a puny 0.1% of the total beer sales. 

My guess is that figure for volume is actually high--nearly 85% of American breweries brew less than a thousand barrels. Still, it gives you a taste for where things stand now.

I mentioned in my earlier post that I would recommend a few breweries to look for if you're down south. This list is very, very far from comprehensive; I was only able to sample beers from a few places. There are certainly a far greater number of breweries worth checking out. These, however, are definitely accomplished, and if you see some of their product, grab it.

  • 7 Mares (Guadalajara)
  • Albur (Guadalupe)
  • Canneria (Ensenada)
  • Colima (El Trapiche, Colima)Norte (Tijuana)
  • Fauna (Mexicali)
  • Insurgente (Tijuana)
  • La Bru (Morelia)
  • Loba (Guadalajara)
  • Silenus (Tijuana)
  • Urbana (Mexicali)

For further reading, check out my earlier post on Mexican craft brewing.

Jeff AlworthMexico