- The lager brand will not be produced after Mexico deemed it non-essential
- Brewery Grupo Modelo said it was scaling down operations to a ‘bare minimum’
- But it suggested it could keep brewing beer if it was deemed to be agriculture
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The brewer of Corona beer has suspended production because of the coronavirus pandemic.
The brand of lager – whose unfortunate name has made it a punchline during the health crisis – will not be produced after Mexico deemed it non-essential.
The brewery Grupo Modelo said it was scaling down its operations to a ‘bare minimum’ in line with the Mexican government’s orders.
However, the company suggested it could keep brewing beer if its operations were deemed to be agriculture, which is allowed.
Corona beer – pictured here on a shelf in Thailand last month – is suspending production because of the coronavirus crisis in Mexico
Grupo Modelo, which also has other export brands including Pacifico and Modelo, said it would complete the suspension in the next few days.
The brewery will reduce operations to a level where they could resume once the suspension is lifted, Grupo Modelo says.
The company said that brewing could continue ‘if the government considers it appropriate to issue some clarification confirming beer as an agro-industrial product’.
‘We are ready to execute a plan with more than 75 per cent of our staff working from home and at the same time guaranteeing the supply of beer,’ a statement said.
Agriculture and food production are among the key sectors which are still allowed to function under Mexican government orders.
Non-essential activities have been suspended for at least the month of April to slow the spread of coronavirus.
Mexico’s other major beer producer Heineken – which makes the Tecate and Dos Equis brands – could also stop activities on Friday, Mexican media said.
The northern state of Nuevo Leon where Heineken’s Mexican operations are based said on Wednesday it would stop the distribution of beer, sparking panic-buying.
A police officer and volunteer patrol a closec beach in Baja California in Mexico earlier this week as the country shuts down non-essential activities
Mexico has so far registered more than 1,500 confirmed cases of coronavirus and 50 deaths.
Constellation Brands, which sells Corona in the U.S., said in February that its sales remained strong despite the label’s obvious drawbacks.
But the company suffered a separate blow last week when plans for a $1.5billion brewery on the U.S. border were rejected in a referendum.
The plant was already two-thirds built but Mexico’s government said it would not grant operating permits after the vote.
Mexico’s deputy health minister said yesterday there are no plans for border closures even as the country’s death toll mounts.
‘There’s no plan, because there’s no intention to use the border closure mechanism as if it were a useful mechanism for controlling the epidemic,’ said Hugo Lopez-Gatell during his regular evening news conference.
‘Although there’s an expectation in the general public’s view that a physical barrier can be put to epidemics, there’s no scientific, historical demonstration that these types of measures are of any use.’