Modelo beer traces its origins back to 1925 when Cervecería Modelo first began brewing beer in Tacuba, Mexico City. This brewery established the iconic Mexican beer brand that would go on to become one of the most popular beers exported from Mexico. Now, almost 100 years later, production of Modelo takes place at multiple breweries across Mexico operated by Grupo Modelo, the parent company of the Modelo brand.
Grupo Modelo currently operates seven breweries in Mexico with a total production capacity of 60 million hectoliters per year. These large-scale production facilities are located in various parts of Mexico and are responsible for brewing not just Modelo but also other beer brands owned by Grupo Modelo, such as Pacifico, Corona, and Victoria. Through its network of breweries, Grupo Modelo is able to produce its full range of beer brands to meet domestic demand in Mexico as well as growing international export markets.
While Modelo may be the namesake brand, Grupo Modelo brews over a dozen different beer styles and variations. Modelo Especial, a pilsner-style beer first brewed in Mexico City, offers a lighter, crisper flavor compared to other fuller-bodied Grupo Modelo brands like Negra Modelo. With its smooth drinkability, Modelo Especial has steadily grown in popularity in recent years, becoming one of the best-selling Mexican beer imports in the United States.
A Brief History of Modelo Beer
Modelo’s origins trace back to 1925 in the Tacuba neighborhood of Mexico City. This is where the Compañía Cervecera Modelo first constructed a brewery and began production of the Modelo beer brand. The very first bottles of Modelo rolled off the line at this small Tacuba brewery in 1925.
In the early years, Modelo faced challenges gaining acceptance among Mexican consumers more accustomed to indigenous alcoholic beverages like pulque. However, the quality and taste of Modelo soon won over drinkers. Production rapidly expanded beyond the original Tacuba facility.
Grupo Modelo – The Modern Beer Powerhouse
Today, Modelo is brewed by Grupo Modelo, Mexico’s leading beer producer. Grupo Modelo operates seven major breweries located across Mexico with a combined annual production capacity of 60 million hectoliters of beer. That’s enough to fill up to 15 billion bottles per year!
Grupo Modelo’s brewing operations maintain the highest standards of quality control and consistency. State-of-the-art equipment and methods ensure that every bottle of Modelo meets the same premium flavor profile that made it famous.
Brewing Facilities Across Mexico
Each of Grupo Modelo’s breweries plays a role in supplying the national and international demand for Modelo brands. Let’s take a look at where Modelo comes from:
Not far from the original Tacuba brewery, Grupo Modelo operates two massive production facilities in Mexico City. Together these two breweries account for over 50% of the company’s total beer output. This makes sense considering Mexico City’s large population and its importance as a distribution hub. Both plants supply beer for local consumption as well as national and international exports.
The third largest city in Mexico is home to another major Grupo Modelo brewery. With cutting edge technology, this facility brews Modelo brands for distribution across western Mexico.
Located in central Mexico, the Zacatecas brewery uses pure spring water from the nearby La Quemada river. This local water source helps lend Modelo beers their characteristic smoothness.
Nestled in the mountains of Oaxaca, the Tuxtepec brewery produces over 5 million hectoliters annually. This high-tech, ultra-modern plant brews Modelo brands for markets in southern Mexico.
One of Grupo Modelo’s newer brewing facilities is located in Nava, Coahuila. This northern Mexico location has capacity to brew up to 10 million hectoliters each year. From Nava, Modelo ships to Mexico’s northern states as well as export markets.
More Breweries Coming Soon
To meet rising demand, Grupo Modelo has plans to bring additional brewing capacity online over the next few years. New facilities are slated for construction in Mexico City, Baja California, Chihuahua and Sonora. This will further grow production of popular Modelo beers.
Other Brands Produced by Grupo Modelo
While Modelo lends its name to the brewing company, many other brands also originate from Grupo Modelo’s breweries across Mexico. Here are some other major Mexican beer labels brewed by Grupo Modelo:
The flagship brand of Grupo Modelo, Corona is the number one selling Mexican beer globally. Over 1.5 billion gallons are produced annually! Corona’s famous clear glass bottle displays its bright golden color and lively carbonation. The lime garnish in the neck completes the iconic imagery of this leading export brand.
First brewed in Mazatlán, Pacifico is known for its crisp, slightly hoppy taste. The label depicts a scenic cliff and lighthouse overlooking the Pacific Ocean. Light and refreshing, Pacifico is popular on Mexican beaches and perfect for seafood.
Victoria is a classic Vienna-style lager. It has a slightly amber color and mild, sweet maltiness. Victoria features Grupo Modelo’s proprietary straight fermentation process for smoothness and drinkability. It’s a very sessionable beer enjoyed across Mexico.
Despite its name, Modelo Especial is quite different from the standard Modelo lager. Brewed since 1925, it is one of the oldest names in Grupo Modelo’s portfolio. Modelo Especial is an easy-drinking pilsner-style beer with a pale golden color and light hoppy bite.
Negra Modelo is Grupo Modelo’s take on the classic Munich dunkel style. Brewed longer with roasted caramel malts, Negra Modelo shows off a dark copper color with rich maltiness and slight sweetness in flavor.
In total, Grupo Modelo brews over a dozen beer brands across every style imaginable. They expertly cater to diverse Mexican tastes and preferences under one brewing company.
Why Modelo is Only Brewed in Mexico
With Grupo Modelo’s beers growing increasingly popular abroad, why doesn’t the company operate any breweries outside of Mexico?
There are a few important reasons production remains exclusively in Mexico:
- Consistency – By centralizing brewing operations, Grupo Modelo can maintain tight quality control and taste consistency for all its brands. This ensures the Modelo you try in Mexico City tastes identical to one in Madrid.
- Local Ingredients – Many ingredients like Mexican hops and malted barley are sourced locally around Grupo Modelo’s breweries. Keeping production in Mexico provides better access to these important supplies.
- Culture – Modelo and Mexico’s brewing heritage are deeply intertwined. Its brands and facilities represent Mexican culture, tradition and pride.
- Freshness – With total control of the supply chain, Grupo Modelo can deliver exceptionally fresh beer to neighboring export markets like the United States.
So while demand grows globally, Modelo stays true to its Mexican roots – keeping production local is key to its domestic and international success.
Table Comparing Modelo with Other Beer Brands
|Brand||Country of Origin||Type of Beer||Alcohol Content||Flavor Notes||Fun Fact|
|Modelo||Mexico||Lager||4.4% ABV||Crisp, light, subtle maltiness||First brewed in 1925 in Mexico City|
|Corona||Mexico||Pale Lager||4.6% ABV||Light, fruity, citrus||The lime wedge garnish originated to mask imperfections in early production|
|Heineken||Netherlands||Pale Lager||5% ABV||Crisp, mild malt, subtle fruit||Heineken refuses to advertise or endorse excessive drinking|
|Stella Artois||Belgium||Pale Lager||5% ABV||Crisp, slight malt sweetness, mild bitterness||Originated as a Christmas holiday beer in Belgium|
|Bud Light||United States||Light Lager||4.2% ABV||Crisp, clean, mild flavors||First marketed in 1982 as a lower-calorie beer option|
|Guinness||Ireland||Stout||4.2% ABV||Rich, roasted coffee and chocolate notes||Uses a nitrogen widget to create its creamy texture|
|Blue Moon||United States||Belgian White Ale||5.4% ABV||Fruity, spiced, orange peel||Garnished with an orange slice to complement citrus flavors|
Rising Popularity of Modelo Beers in the U.S.
Despite being limited to imported beer, Modelo’s U.S. sales have exploded in recent decades. It’s now one of the hottest Mexican beer brands north of the border.
Americans love Modelo for its easy-drinking taste and iconic Mexican image. It offers an accessible introduction to Mexican-style brews.
The refreshing flavor profile also pairs perfectly with hot weather, spicy foods and casual dining. This makes Modelo a go-to choice for backyard barbecues, tacos and late nights out.
Among younger consumers especially, Modelo has developed an energetic brand image not unlike its own rodeo-riding mascot! Events like Formula 1 racing have further associated Modelo with action sports, driving excitement for the brand.
While the entire portfolio of Grupo Modelo beers sells well in the States, Modelo Especial claims the top spot. Its crisp, smooth pilsner taste overtakes even Corona in popularity lately.
Clearly, Americans can’t get enough of the smooth, easy-drinking taste of genuine Mexican beer. And Modelo delivers the real deal.
Frequently Asked Questions about Modelo Beer
Where is Modelo beer brewed?
Modelo is brewed exclusively at seven breweries operated by Grupo Modelo across Mexico. The main production facilities are located in Mexico City, Guadalajara, Zacatecas, and other regions of Mexico.
Who owns the Modelo beer brand?
Modelo is owned by the Mexican company Grupo Modelo, which is part of the global AB InBev beer conglomerate. Grupo Modelo manages all production and distribution of Modelo brands.
What types of beer does Grupo Modelo produce?
In addition to Modelo, Grupo Modelo brews many popular Mexican beer brands like Corona, Pacifico, Victoria, and Negra Modelo. They offer a diverse range of lagers, pilsners, and dark beers.
Why is Modelo only brewed in Mexico?
Keeping production in Mexico allows Grupo Modelo to control quality and freshness. Local Mexican ingredients also lend distinctive flavor. And brewing in Mexico maintains cultural tradition.
Is Modelo a pilsner beer?
The standard Modelo lager is an all-malt Vienna-style beer. Modelo Especial is a pilsner-style variation that is lighter and hoppier. Both are brewed by Grupo Modelo in Mexico.
Is Modelo gluten-free?
No, Modelo contains gluten from malted barley used in the brewing process. None of Grupo Modelo’s beer brands are gluten-free.
How can I find where Modelo is sold near me?
Use the beer finder tool on Modelo’s website to search for stores and bars selling Modelo brands by location. Modelo has widespread availability in Mexico, the U.S., and other export countries.
The Takeaway: Authentic Mexican Beer, Brewed Fresh in Mexico
It’s easy to understand why Modelo has become a runaway success as Mexican beer gains popularity worldwide. But it all starts with Grupo Modelo’s dedication to quality and tradition.
By brewing exclusively in Mexico, using local ingredients and methods, Modelo’s beers offer an authentic taste of Mexico in every bottle and can. And that unmatched flavor profile simply can’t be replicated outside its home country.
So for the smoothest, freshest taste of Mexico’s favorite beer, straight from the source – look for those familiar gold and red labels proclaiming “Cerveza de Mexico.” Because the bold spirit of Modelo comes from its Mexican roots. ¡Salud!