NPR Story
1:11 pm
Wed April 24, 2013

How Do Mexicans Feel About The Corona-Budweiser Merger?

TIJUANA, Mexico — The U.S. Justice Department has settled an antitrust lawsuit against Anheuser-Busch InBev. That clears the way for the world's largest brewer to buy out Grupo Modelo, the Mexican company that makes Corona beer.

Brad Rzepka is a tourist from Las Vegas. He’s sipping a Corona at a bar on Tijuana’s main tourist strip.

He’s a Budweiser guy, and he’s still unhappy that InBev, a Belgian company, bought Anheuser-Busch in 2008 to become Anheuser-Busch InBev.

“It’s a true American beer. It’s been around forever. I can’t believe they sold out,” he said. And he’s not surprised that the same company now plans to take over Mexico’s most iconic beer.

“If I was Mexican I probably wouldn’t be happy about it. I don’t really have an opinion about it," Rzepka said.

Eduardo Cervantes is Mexican. He works at the bar. Actually, he says he doesn’t mind the merger either.

As part of its settlement with DOJ, the Belgian brewer agreed to sell the rights to Corona and other Modelo brands in the U.S. to a competitor. That will keep the Belgian company from dominating the U.S. beer market, but allow it to start marketing Corona around the world.

That sounds good to Cervantes. Maybe Mexicans will become more famous that way, he said.

Not everyone’s thrilled, though. At a nearby restaurant, Roger Galvez entices tourists with Coronas for $1.

“It’s a Mexican name. It’s CORONA,” Galvez said.

He says the beer evokes thoughts of Mexican white sand beaches. It makes him happy. But when I explain the details of the deal to him, he reconsiders.

“I guess if it’s gonna go all over the world, it’s gonna make a lot of people happy. Shoot! Might as well! You know? It makes me happy after all," he said.

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