Mexico’s Craft Beer Boom: An Industry On the Rise

Mexico’s love of beer is nothing new. As the world’s number one exporter of beer, the country has brewed up some of the best-selling brands loved well beyond Mexico’s borders. But the large breweries aren’t the only ones experiencing growth in the industry. Once considered merely a niche, craft beer is experiencing a huge boom in Mexico, with more and more turning to independent breweries and home brewing. 


All About Modern Mexican Craft Beer

While there’s no denying the popularity of internationally-known beers and tequila in Mexico, craft beer is on the rise – particularly in more upscale, urban regions. Much of this is attributed to the beer’s ties to the U.S. That by no means implies that Mexican craft beers are a carbon copy of American-made craft beers. Instead, brewers are opting to adapt beers to locally-inspired flavors and tastes, adding ingredients like fruit puree, cacao, hibiscus, spices, and more to their brews.

Recognizing the consumer desire for the tried-and-true beers and the country’s craft beer boom, Mexican breweries are creating both traditional and experimental beers. However, it’s the widely-known craft beers like pale lagers and IPAs that are driving the industry forward. Since craft beer is still a relatively new concept in Mexico, breweries are trying to figure out the best way to reach consumers. That’s why many breweries, particularly smaller ones, create more “traditional” craft beers; they use them as transitional brews – beers similar to the commercial brews the public is used to. 

Others have chosen to veer on the side of creativity, bucking traditional brewing methods and ingredients. From aging beer in tequila barrels to including ingredients like cactus, craft beer is made into an experience. You’ll find both types of craft beers served up beside drinks and barware in taprooms, restaurants, bars, stores, and local festivals.


The Growing Appeal of Craft Beer

How did the Mexican craft beer sensation start? It’s believed that craft beer in the country all began with Gustavo Rodríguez in Mexico City. Rodríguez had purchased a beer-making kit during a visit to Texas in the mid-1990s, then opened Cerveza Cosaco five years later in 2000. Other craft breweries followed suit across the country, from Mexico City to Guadalajara.  

Mexican craft beer shows no signs of slowing down anytime soon – quite the opposite. In fact, the Brewers Association and ACERMEX (the Mexican Brewer’s Association) are working to promote craft beer’s growth on both sides of the border. Together, they created the Together We Brew program, an annual program that encourages collaborative brews between Mexican and American brewers. Their primary goals? To maximize knowledge, grow as a community, and, of course, create great-tasting brews. 


Where to Find Craft Beer in Mexico

Mexico is a country definitely worth exploring for any beer lover. But keep in mind that your best bet to find these craft beers is in Mexico’s major cities, tourist areas, and those with a strong brewing culture like Mexicali. 

Around half of the craft beer production is in the north, with Baja California leading the way. From Mexicali to Ensenada, it is home to the most independent breweries in all of Mexico (over 300!). It’s all thanks to inspiration from Baja California’s closest neighbor, the city of San Diego, CA, which is largely considered to be the craft beer capital of America.

Mexico City is another significant producer of craft beer, only trailing behind Jalisco as the top producer in the country’s center. Visitors and natives alike will find taprooms, brewery tours, and the metropolitan city’s craft beer festival to be must-see experiences that offer the opportunity to not only try some of the best brews but also learn more about Mexican craft beer.

The Bright Future of Craft Beer in Mexico

Traditional beer may still dominate the market, but craft beer is on its way up in Mexico. If you’re a craft beer connoisseur, Mexico’s craft beer is quickly becoming a contender in the industry. Plan your next getaway, discover exported Mexican craft beers available in your area, or try your hand at recreating their brews to discover the region’s beer for yourself!

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