The Growing Popularity of Mexican Craft Beers

In our article the story of Mexican beer, we commented how the brewing industry experienced significant growth after Mexico’s independence from Spain, and later consolidated with two large brewery groups —Cuahutémoc Moctezuma and Grupo Modelo— emerging to dominate the market.

Distribution is essential

The market presence of the two big brewers is due in no small part to their vast distribution networks which get their brands to appear in front of buying customers at major supermarkets, tienditas, restaurants, and bars across the country.

Notwithstanding this reach, independent brewers have been making a noticeable comeback in recent times with small-batch craft beer and ale labels appearing regionally in local stores, restaurants and bars.

The artisan (sometimes called ‘craft’) beer market continues to experience robust growth as more discerning consumers, perhaps fatigued by the run of mass-produced beverages, seek out variety and subtlety in the flavor of their brews—and a higher quality beverage.

Mexico is one of the world’s top producers of beer, (and brands like Corona and Sol sell millions of bottles globally) so it’s not surprising that the current popular demand for artisan beer has engulfed Mexico, too.  Acermex, the Mexican brewers’ association, estimates that there are now over 600 independent breweries in Mexico.

Restaurants and bars offering more choice

Bars and restaurants —especially those in fashionable urban enclaves— keen to offer customers distinctive leisure experiences are taking notice of the small breweries and are making additional efforts to stock a range of artisan beers for the clientele to buy.  An indication of the popularity of these drinks can be seen by the number of articles regularly featured on various websites that write about food and culture with recommendations for places to try craft beers in Mexico City—and it’s interesting to note that more restaurants and bars outside the capital are are also stocking craft beers alongside the big brands.

Big breweries responding to the demand

The artisan beer market represents only a tiny fraction of the total beer market in Mexico, although the changing trends have not gone unnoticed by the two big breweries, who have begun to introduce new ‘premium’ beers to complement their existing marques.

For example, Grupo Modelo has introduced “Ambar,” a Vienna-style premium beer, and “Trigo,” a light wheat-based beer (sometimes referred to as ‘white beer’). They claim the large-scale processes used to create these beers produce a quality product as good as those crafted by the independent breweries in smaller batches.

An enterprising Mexican company is capitalizing on the renaissance of craft Mexican beers and ales, using online commerce to offer an enormous selection of independently-produced Mexican brands which can be ordered online, as well as being a distributor for the artisan breweries.  A comprehensive list of breweries and their beers is available on the website.

Ask your waiter about Mexican craft beers

The next time you’re visiting Mexico or taking refreshment out at your local bar or restaurant, take a second look at the beverages menu and browse the list of beers—you might be pleasantly surprised to discover that there’s something other than the usual assortment of beers and ales on offer.  If nothing new is listed on the menu, ask the waiter, or glance at the bottles in the fridge to see what might be available.

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