Published On: Tue, Aug 23rd, 2016

Beer and tequila imports show Americans increasingly want Mexican products

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While Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump’s supporters chant “build the wall,” more Americans are drinking beer and tequila imported from what would be on the other side, Bloomberg news agency reports.

The largest alcohol producers are stressing the need to appeal to consumers — Hispanic and otherwise — who increasingly want products with Mexican heritage. U.S. beer shipments from Mexico grew 18 percent this year through June, outpacing the 1.3 percent gain for all beer shipments, according to data from the Beer Institute. From 2010 to 2015, tequila rose 30 percent by volume in the U.S., more than any other alcohol category except cognac, according to data from Euromonitor International.

Constellation Brands Inc.’s 24 percent compound annual growth from 2010 to 2015 was driven by the popularity of its Mexican imports, including Corona and Modelo beer, according to Kenneth Shea, a Bloomberg Intelligence analyst. Heineken NV’s Tecate franchise has grown 7.2 percent so far this year, led by Tecate Light, which is up 31 percent. Heineken also imports Dos Equis.

“Millennials and Hispanics for us are very critical,” said Ronald den Elzen, chief executive officer of Heineken USA, in an interview. “The trends coming out of Latin America over here and the attractiveness for all the American population in general in what’s happening in food, in clothing, in style — in everything — is just helping to drive that fuel.”

Constellation and Heineken aren’t alone. Other companies have taken notice of the power of Hispanic consumers: On Sept. 1, MillerCoors Inc. will introduce Zumbida, an alcoholic take on a traditional Mexican beverage called agua fresca. Diageo Plc, the world’s largest distiller, has bolstered its tequila portfolio and invested in Mexico’s newest popular spirit: mezcal. The tequila and mezcal industry in the U.S. is expected to grow 17 percent between 2015 and 2020, according to data from Euromonitor.

Alcohol companies are caught in the crosshairs of two cultural movements: the rise of Trump and his nativist bombast, and the so-called Mexicanization of U.S. culture as seen in the food and beverage industries.

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Source: bloomberg.com

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