Mexican microbrewers struggle to get ahead
on 22/04/11 at 1:42 pmBeer
Craft beer makers are up against two giant firms that dominate the market. But they persevere, even if bars and restaurants are unwilling to stock their brews.
It sounds like a movie where high jinks ensue: A teetotaling Mexican hotel worker travels to England, befriends a whisky-drinking Irishman and scrubs toilets in a pub while learning to brew killer beer.
Such is the odd path Jose Morales has taken since a sweltering day five years ago when he found himself wondering how to make a beverage he doesn’t even drink. The daydreaming has led Morales, then a hotel warehouse manager, to an unlikely new calling as a beer maker.
Morales, 36, is among a burst of Mexican brewers who are testing recipes and investing in imported equipment in hopes of finding the same formula for success that microbreweries north of the border have found.
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’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.