Coronavirus has infected over 1 million people, and it continues to spread. Governments have forced restaurants, bars, retailers, and other non-essential businesses to shut down. But the coronavirus just took another victim… Corona.
Grupo Modelo, which is part of the Anheuser-Busch InBev brewery group, operates 11 breweries in Mexico . It exports Corona and the company’s other brands, which include Modelo and Pacifico, to 180 countries.
Grupo Modelo is temporarily suspending production of Corona beer. This decision has nothing to do with the confusion between Corona beer and coronavirus. Google searches for “corona beer virus” surged in January when the first cases of coronavirus appeared in the United States.
The name coronavirus comes from the crown shape of the virus, and “corona” is Latin for “crown.” There is no link with the beer. An online rumor said that Corona sales in the United States fell by about 40% after the epidemic.
However, in late February, Constellation Brands denied the rumor. The owner of the Corona label said that sales had stayed strong in the United States, even as the virus spread worldwide.
Grupo Modelo has decided to halt Corona beer production after the Mexican government stated that it isn’t an essential activity amid the pandemic.
The Mexican government declared a health emergency this week after the number of coronavirus cases in the country exceeded 1,000 . It ordered the cessation of non-essential activities to curb the spread of the coronavirus.
The Mexican brewer said in a statement that the suspension will be in place from Sunday and that it is already reducing production to the bare minimum. Grupo Modelo is ready to adopt a plan to guarantee the supply of beer if the Mexican government decides to include breweries as essential.
If the federal government considers it appropriate to issue some clarification confirming beer as an agro-industrial product, at Grupo Modelo we are ready to execute a plan with more than 75% of our staff working from home and at the same time guaranteeing the supply of beer.
Agriculture and food production are generally considered essential activities. So, Mexico doesn’t consider beer as food, which might look strange since beer contains cereal grains.
Many people drink beer regularly – some even daily – and it sure is essential to them. In the U.S., booze sales, including beer, are booming as Americans stay at home due to COVID-19. When Corona beer is no longer available, Corona lovers could shift to other beer brands.
Even when production resumes, sales of Corona could be lower as consumers get used to drinking other beers. Stopping beer production is wise from a health perspective, but painful for the brewers and fans of Corona.