7th August, 2014 by Rupert Millar
AB-InBev is looking to strengthen its appeal among Latino beer drinkers in the US by importing a new Mexican lager into areas with high Latino populations.
According to the LA Times, Montejo beer will be available first in bars, restaurants and grocery stores across California, Texas, Arizona and New Mexico – home to 70% of the US’s Latino population.
The beer giant has reported before that Mexican beers now account for 60% of imports and the category is growing twice as quickly as total beer imports.
AB-InBev already owns the Modelo brewery in Mexico which makes Corona though it was forced to cede the distribution rights in the US following concerns from US competition authorities back in 2012/2013.
However, reluctant to miss out on a booming beer category, AB-InBev has secured the rights to Montejo.
Ryan Garcia, vice president of regional marketing, told the paper: “We’ve been watching this market for a while, and the consumer demand is huge.”
This narrative somewhat contradicts the belief that craft beer is the fastest growing category in US beer but Harry Schuhmacher, publisher of the journal Beer Business Daily, that this is not the case.
“The fastest-growing beers in the U.S. right now are not craft beers, but Mexican imports,” he told the paper.
“Anheuser-Busch would be foolish not to attempt to tap into that growth.”
Montejo will premiere on 15 August at Dodger Stadium, home of MLB team the LA Dodgers, before a more general release this September.
Garcia said: “We’ve partnered with the Dodgers and are converting the Bud Light bar in right field to a Montejo bar.”
The head brewer will also be brought over from Mexico for the occasion and it will likely be the first time Montejo has been drunk outside Mexico since its creation in 1960.