Thanks Wikipedia for this information! We distilled (ha!) the information, but the full story is here
Beer in Mexico has a long history. While Mesoamerican cultures knew of fermented alcoholic beverages, including a corn beer, long before the Spanish conquest, European style beer brewed with barley was introduced with the Spanish soon after Hernán Cortés’ arrival. Production of this beer here was limited during the colonial period due to the lack of materials and severe restrictions and taxes placed on the product by Spanish authorities. After the Mexican War of Independence, these restrictions disappeared, and the industry was permitted to develop. However, the arrival of German immigrants and the short-lived empire of Austrian Maximilian I in the 19th century provided the impetus for the opening of many breweries in various parts of the country. By 1918, there were 36 brewing companies, but over the 20th century, the industry consolidated until today, only two corporations, Grupo Modelo and FEMSA control 90% of the Mexican beer market. This industry is one of the most prevalent in the country, with over 63% of the population buying one brand or another. Beer is also a major export for the country, with most going to the United States, but is available in over 150 countries in the world.
By 1918, there were 36 beer producers in Mexico. Prohibition in the United States during the 1920s helped the Mexican beer industry, with Americans crossing the border to drink. This spurred breweries along the border, such as Mexicali Brewery and the Aztec Brewing Company, both in Baja California. Beer became big business by the early 20th century. By 1925, despite the strong preference still for pulque in the center of the country, Mexico was producing 50,000 liters of beer per year.
Mexico displaced Holland in 2003 as the worldwide exporter in beer sales, selling 1.39 million tonnes, with sales, primarily to the U.S.
Grupo Modelo (Corona, Corona Light, Negra Modelo, Modelo Especial Victoria, Estrella, Léon and Montejo and Pacifico) and FEMSA (Tecate, Sol, Dos Equis, Carta Blanca, Superior, Indio, Bohemia and Noche Buena) send more than 80% of their exports to the U.S. Mexican beer’s growth is coming largely at the expense of U.S. brands.
Corona is one of the five most consumed beers in the world, available in 150+ countires.
Sol was introduced in the 1890s as El Sol. The name came from a ray of sunshine that fell on a pot while preparing the mash.
Tecate was named after the city of Tecate, Baja California. It was the first beer to be canned in Mexico, with Tecate Light launched in Mexico in 1992. Tecate is one of the best-known brands in Mexico due to its patronage of sports teams and sporting events.
Negra Modelo is one of Cervecería Modelo’s original beers, and was first sold as a draft in 1926.
Pacífico, a Mexican pilsner beer originally brewed in Mazatlán, Sinaloa, is named after the Pacific Ocean. The picture on the bottle is the Deer Islands off the coast of Mazatlán surrounded by a lifesaver.
Modelo Especial is Grupo Modelo’s second brand after Corona, and was first brewed in 1925. It is a pilsner-style beer that is available in both bottle and cans since 1966. It is second in popularity in Mexico and the company’s third best seller in the USA. A light version, called Modelo Light, has been available since 1994.
With our weather getting warmer outside, it is time for a nice cold beer! Happy Cinco de Mayo!!