Grupo Modelo suspends production of Corona and other beer brands amid coronavirus crisis in Mexico

Grupo Modelo, which produces and exports several popular beer brands including Corona, Pacifica and Modelo, will be temporarily suspending production after its breweries were deemed non-essential by the Mexican government.

The company confirmed the news via a press release shared to Twitter early on Friday, and pledged its “total commitment” to slowing the spread of coronavirus.

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“Grupo Modelo announces that this Sunday it will complete the process of suspending its production and marketing operations for beer,” wrote Grupo Modelo, per a translation of its press release. The company added that the suspension was part of an agreement with Mexico’s federal government, as one of many “extraordinary actions to attend to the health emergency generated by SARS-VoC2 virus.”

Grupo Modelo had said it was already in the process of slowing production to a “minimum,” but not stopping it altogether, to make it easier to resume once the health crisis was under control, citing some 15,000 families and 800,000 grocers that rely on beer production and beer sales for at least some of their income.

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“In the event that the federal government considers it opportune to issue a guarantee confirming beer as an [essential] agro-industrial product, at Grupo Modelo we are ready to execute a plan with more than 75 percent of our staff working from home and at the same time guaranteeing the supply of beer,” the statement continued.

Grupo Modelo added that it has already donated 300,000 bottles of hand sanitizer for distribution to hospitals and medical centers, and said further efforts toward “fighting this fight” will be announced shortly.

“Grupo Modelo will abide by the measures adopted by the Federal Government and reaffirms its total commitment to be part of the fight against the SARS CoV2 virus,” the statement read.

A representative for Grupo Modelo, whose parent company is Anheuser Busch InBev, was not immediately available to confirm whether the suspension of production would affect the supply chain for its beer.

Earlier this week, Mexico declared a health emergency after surpassing 1,000 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in the country, Reuters reported. By Thursday, the country had reported of at least 1,500 cases and 50 deaths.

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