Making beer is ‘over’ in northern Mexico, says president, amid crippling drought

Mexico’s president has said that making beer in northern parts of the country is “over” as the region faces intense water shortages.

Much of northern Mexico is under “severe” drought, or worse, leaving major cities like Monterrey rationing water. But Mexico is also the world’s largest exporter of beer, shipping over $5billion of beer in 2021.

President Andrés Manuel López Obrador said on Monday that beer production should be supported in the southern or southeastern end of the country, which isn’t facing perilously dry conditions.

“This is not to say we won’t produce any more beer, it’s to say that we won’t produce beer in the north. That’s over,” the president said at a press conference, Bloomberg reported.

“If they want to keep producing beer, increasing production, then all the support for the south or southeast.”

Mexico is home to globally-recognized beer brands like Modelo, Dos Equis and Tecate. Grupo Modelo, which produces Modelo, Corona and Pacifico beers among others, has breweries in the northern states of Coahuila, Zacatecas and Sinaloa. The company is owned by AB InBev, which also produces Budweiser and Stella Artois.

Heineken, which owns the Cuauhtémoc Moctezuma brewery that produces Dos Equis and Tecate among others, has a facility in Monterrey, Bloomberg reported.

Monterrey, a city around three hours south of the US border, has more than five million people in the metropolitan area. Some corners of the city have gone without running water this summer as drought conditions depleted local reservoirs.

Last week, The New York Times reported that some neighbourhoods in the city have lacked running water for 75 days.

The climate crisis is expected to increase the frequency and intensity of drought as the planet heats up, according to the UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), the leading global authority on climate science.

Currently, the world has warmed about 1.2 degrees Celsius since the beginning of industrial times . As the world heats up, Mexico and other countries in Central America, along with the US southwest will get much drier, the IPCC reported.

The world is on track to reach 2.7C of warming by the end of the century, according to the Climate Action Tracker, an independent analysis of global climate policy.