Corona Brewery Accused of Draining Mexico of Water

Mexican mayor accuses US firm of sucking all the water from local wells
By Elizabeth Armstrong Moore,  Newser Staff
Posted Jul 1, 2016 9:46 AM CDT
Corona Brewery Accused of Draining Mexico of Water
This Oct. 5, 2011 photo, shows Corona Extra beers, sporting lime wedges, on the bar at Rick's Cafe in Chagrin Falls, Ohio.   (AP Photo/Amy Sancetta)

Americans love Mexican beer. The US imports more beer from its neighbor to the south than all other importers put together, and Corona is the country's fifth best-selling beer, the Wall Street Journal reported in 2015. But the mayor of the municipality of Zaragoza just south of the US border says a brewery there—which produces Corona among other beers and was bought by US firm Constellation Brands in 2013—is sucking so much water from the region's already dry wells that it has left the area bone dry. "WE HAVE NO WATER FOR HUMAN CONSUMPTION," he writes in a single-sentence letter to the Coahuila state governor, and tells the Guardian there's "barely a drop of water when you open the tap."

The beer produced by the brewery is exported to the US, and Constellation Brands in June 2015 announced a $2 billion investment to expand the facility, Reuters reported. Its aim: to produce and fill 20 million bottles of beer a day by 2017. In comments to the Guardian, a rep for the brewery dismissed the mayor's comments, saying the local aquifer is replenished at rate greater than that at which the brewery removes beer from it. He also asserted that Zaragoza would have water problems even without the presence of the brewery. Indeed, a public administration professor notes arid conditions are typical of the region, though he blames business interests for making the problem worse. "We’re still giving concessions to private entities on the premise of bringing jobs." Constellation Brands had previously said the expanded brewery would mean another 2,500 jobs. (Read more water shortage stories.)

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