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Mexican Beer Companies Get Hit By Pandemic Measures

Beer cans
Rodrigo Cervantes/KJZZ
editorial | staff
Modelo Especial and Tecate are two of the signature brands owned by Heineken in Mexico.

MEXICO CITY — Mexican beers make up almost 70% of the imported beers sold in the U.S. Beer is one of the top exports and sources of income for Mexico. But the COVID-19 pandemic is affecting Mexican breweries, which is also hitting consumers. 

Cuauhtémoc-Moctezuma, the Mexican subsidiary of Heineken that produces Dos Equis and Tecate, is planning to pause its operations, according to sources.

The federal government required companies providing non-essential products or services to shut down temporarily as part of the actions to stop spreading the virus.

Jaime "El Bronco" Rodríguez, governor of the state of Nuevo León, where Heineken has its largest operations in Mexico, said breweries will stop producing and distributing. He also called for a possible dry law in his state, generating panic shopping even in other areas of Mexico. Mexico City's government had to clarify that alcohol will still be sold in the capital.

Sources say the next big player to formally suspend operations is Grupo Modelo, brewer of Corona. One of its plants is producing antibacterial gel donated to public hospitals. 

Another obstacle for the industry is at the U.S.-Mexico border, where only so-called essentials are allowed to cross.

→  Read The Latest News On The Coronavirus Disease 

Rodrigo Cervantes is KJZZ’s bureau chief in Mexico City, where he was born and raised. He has served as opinion writer, contributor and commentator for several media outlets and organizations in Mexico and the United States, including CNN, Georgia Public Broadcasting and Univisión. Cervantes previously worked as the business editor and editorial coordinator for El Norte, the leading newspaper in Monterrey and a publication of Grupo Reforma, Mexico’s premier news group. In Mexico City, Cervantes served in Reforma as a reporter, special correspondent, editor and special sections coordinator. Cervantes also held the editor position at MundoHispánico, a division of The Atlanta Journal-Constitution and Georgia’s oldest and largest Latino newspaper. He also participated as one of the first members of the Diversity Advisory Group for Cox Media. In 2012, Cervantes was appointed as fellow for the Leadership Program of The New York Times/Nieman Foundation for Journalism at Harvard, as well as for the "Líderes Digitales" program from the International Center for Journalists. In 2010, he was awarded with the Poynter-McCormick Leadership Fellowship. Cervantes graduated with honors in communication sciences and journalism from the Instituto Tecnológico de Monterrey (ITESM), Mexico City Campus. Later, he was granted the Fundación Carolina Scholarship from the Spanish government to obtain an MBA degree at San Pablo-CEU School of Business (Madrid). Other awards include: the Power 30 Under 30 Award for Professional and Community Excellence in Atlanta, the Outstanding Alumni Medal from ITESM, and several José Martí Awards for Journalism Excellence from the National Association of Hispanic Publications (NAHP). Cervantes enjoys music, books, travel, friendship, good mezcal and the occasional company of his guitar.