Grupo Modelo suspends beer production in Mexico

13 Apr 2020

Grupo Modelo will temporarily stop brewing Corona beer and other brands to comply with the Mexican government’s order to suspend all non-essential activities in the wake of a growing number of cases of COVID-19. The order for the temporary suspension remains in effect until April 30.

Grupo Modelo was already scaling down its production to a minimum at its 11 Mexican breweries, but now, it will no longer be producing at all, which is bad news for beer lovers in the 180 countries that Anheuser Busch InBev, the parent company of Grupo Modelo, exports to. This halt in beer brewing activities came through the regulatory pipeline despite the Mexican government considering agriculture and food production "essential."

Grupo Modelo suspends beer production in Mexico
Courtesy of Grupo Modelo

In a statement that the company released on Twitter, Grupo Modelo said that it is ready to ramp up beer production and “guarantee the supply of beer” if the government reconsidered and issued an amendment that beer qualified as an essential agro-industrial product. In the statement, the company said 15,000 families and 800,000 grocers that rely on beer production and beer sales for at least some of their income.

The story of Corona is a different one in the United States. Constellation Brands owns the U.S. distribution rights for the brand, and in a call with analysts the day after Grupo Modelo made its announcement, Constellation Brand’s CEO Bill Newlands said that there will continue to be a supply of Corona in the U.S. In the call, Newlands assured analysts that this continued distribution does not conflict with governmental regulations, according to reporting by Reuters. Constellation Brands has production facilities in the U.S., Italy and New Zealand where it can brew Corona.

Now that production is prohibited in Mexico, Grupo Modelo is looking for other avenues to continue to keep its brand on the market. Like many other alcohol manufacturers, the company has already donated 300,000 bottles of hand sanitizer for distribution to hospitals and medical centers.

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