Big Beer Brings Protest to Mexicali
Water is a basic human right, correct? Even within our society’s divided climate, I think that is something we can all agree upon. No person should go without water. I mean, after all, an adult human body consists of about 60% water. It’s safe to say, we need it.
Now, let me ask you another question: It’s not a shock to anyone that California, and southwestern states in general have been suffering from a drought, correct? So, why would Baja California be any different? Wouldn’t they be suffering from the same drought as us? The answer is, yes, they are suffering from severe drought, causing water shortages.
You’re probably wondering, what is her point, and what the hell does this have to do with beer. It has everything to do with beer, and how our consumption affects the lives of others.
Last week, I stumbled upon an article regarding Constellation Brands’ brewery in Mexicali, Baja California, and how their production is going to affect the citizens of Mexicali. For those of you who don’t know, Constellation Brands is the No. 3 beer company in the U.S., consisting of well-known brands such as Corona, Pacifico, Ballast Point, and Modelo.
“A Battle Over a U.S. Brewery in Mexicali” shouted at me as I perused The San Diego Union-Tribune. The headline sucked me in, while I delved further into the issue.
Constellation Brands’ promise is to provide hundreds of jobs, but the opposition is solely concerned about their water supply, with good reason. Mexicali has been stricken by devastating drought, and now their government has agreed to let Big Beer takeover, offering “absolute support for the Constellation Brands project,” according to Mexico’s federal government (Dibble, 2018). The citizens are currently in an uproar, protesting outside of the brewery’s construction site, which is expected for completion by 2020 (Dibble, 2018).
Locals have joined forces with the Mexicali Resiste, whose website “has been suspended.” Mexicali’s community, and voice of local farmers have drawn concern to the issue, and want to be heard. The concern does not stem from loss of drinking water, but a lack of water for farmer’s to properly irrigate their crops in this drought-strained climate.
Just to put this in perspective, Colorado’s drought is currently affecting 99% of it’s population (Heim, 2018), and Mexicali’s drought is far more severe than up here in the Rockies. Local government is beginning to get involved as well. Mayor, Leoncio Martínez, states that Constellation Brands “draws [317 gallons] per second from local wells” (Whitney, 2016), when the Beer Mogul claimed they would only draw 1.8 billion gallons per year. The math just doesn’t add up.
Why should we care? As citizens of the world, we should try to better humanity, caring for one another, even if there’s a border between us. If Constellation Brands brewery does in fact take away water from Mexicali citizens, leaving them with little to farm, then the food shortages will come next. Limiting the most precious and vital resource to humans is not the way to build a sustainable community. We cannot let Big Beer keep buying up small businesses like Ballast Point. These small businesses give back to the community, while Big Beer is powered by greed, leaving little for the people that fuel it. This is why we need to TakeCraft Back.
Dibble, Sandra. (2018). A battle over a U.S. brewery in Mexicali. The San Diego Union-Tribune. Retrieved from: http://www.sandiegouniontribune.com/news/border-baja-california/sd-me-constellation-mexicali-20180126-story.html
Filloon, Whitney. (2016). Mexican Town’s Water Supply Reportedly Being Guzzled by American Beer Drinkers. Eater. Retrieved from: https://www.eater.com/2016/7/1/12078230/mexican-beer-water-shortage-constellation-brands
Heim, Richard. (2018). U.S. Drought Monitor – Colorado. National Integrated Drought Information System, Regions. Retrieved from: https://www.drought.gov/drought/states/colorado
Tropics of Meta. (2018). BOYCOTT MODELLO: Water Privatization and Solidarity with Baja California. Latino Rebels. Retrieved from:http://www.latinorebels.com/2018/01/24/boycott-modelo-water-privatization-and-solidarity-with-baja-california/
Mexicali Drought Photo: ISciences – Global Water Monitor & Forecast. (2017). [Composite Water Anomaly Index Feb. 2017-Jan. 2018 Map]. MEXICO, CENTRAL AMERICA, & THE CARIBBEAN: WATER DEFICITS IN BAJA CALIFORNIA & NAYARIT. Retrieved from: https://www.isciences.com/blog/2017/5/16/mexico-central-america-the-caribbean-water-deficits-in-baja-california-nayarit