Luis Reyes.The motorbike carries a jockey box filled with three small kegs of five liters each.
As soon as the news hit, we received ten orders,” says Carlos Macklis owner of Norte Brewing Co. “We stopped producing but we are still selling our beer. I’m acting as the delivery boy driving around in my white truck.”
The news Mr. Macklis was referring to is that Heineken Mexico and Grupo Modelo are stopping the production and distribution due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Madueno hazy beers. “Heineken closing might help the local craft brewing scene."
Details about the lockdown in Mexico and what is considered non-essential is not clear. The news of the two major beer producers in the country shutting down caused panic beer shopping, most notoriously in the city of Monterrey where the governor of the state declared ley seca (dry law). Just as they did with toilet paper, Tijuana saw beer panic shopping and started to limit the number of beers per customer to three six-packs.
“Heineken closing might help the local craft brewing scene, especially those who are or will be doing deliveries,” says Alfredo Santaolalla of Madueño Brewing. “We closed our doors today (April 1). We are looking at what options we have available.”
Reyes sprays the taps with disinfectant.
Madueño Brewing opened the doors to its new taproom on Calle Sexta (6th Street) in downtown Tijuana at the beginning of the year and closed the doors to its original taproom in Plaza Fiesta. Most craft beer places abandoned Plaza Fiesta in 2019 and migrated to downtown Tijuana or other areas of the city.
Brewers were not only ready for a spring filled with tourists and thirsty beer enthusiasts, but they were ready for the Ensenada Beer Fest, which was canceled. With their taprooms closed and a surplus of beer, they had to come up with creative ways to get their products to their clients.
“Ideally, I would come inside the home and sell my product,” says Luis Reyes, the brewer of Cerveceria Los Reyes who is acting as a delivery boy. “But at the end of the day, it’s a private service and there is no law saying I can’t sell my beer.”
“Sometimes in traffic, they ask me what am I doing."
Luis Reyes drives around the city of Tijuana on his motorcycle that was modified to function as a taproom. The motorbike carries a jockey box filled with three small kegs of 5 liters each and a small tank of CO2. Cervecería Los Reyes is located in Rosarito, but most of his clients are in Tijuana. Luis delivers beer anywhere in the city.
“It was after a couple of days of being locked down that we had the idea,” continues Luis as he pours their hefeweizen beer into my glass growler. “We figured out we had all the equipment, I had the bike, we already had the box, we had the small kegs for presentations, we just had to do some modifications, and we landed in what is our mobile taproom on a bike. It only took us two days, the hardest part was the wooden base so the kegs won’t move.”
I messaged Reyes through WhatsApp for the beer delivery. They informed me that they currently serve three styles of beer: pale ale, hefeweizen, and stout for 100 pesos per liter and they will fill any type of container. Other breweries are working in a similar fashion selling their beer through social media at a discounted price.
“Sometimes in traffic, they ask me what am I doing, and I tell them to look the brewery up on Facebook. Back at the plant, I see that I have a new like and a message saying, hey, I saw you on the street, can you bring me beer or what?”
Luis Reyes sprayed the taps with disinfectant, closed the jockey box, put his helmet on, and left on his next beer delivery.