Nayarit Governor Echeverría. Nayarit Governor Echeverría.

Rejected in Baja, brewery project gets invitations from Nayarit, Tabasco

Both states claim to have sufficient water supply to support the project

Baja California may not want the US $1.4-billion brewery Constellation Brands was constructing in Mexicali, but other states do.

The federal government announced that it would halt the project after the public rejected it by 76.1% in a referendum held over the weekend.

But the governors of Nayarit and Tabasco do not share the sympathies of the nearly 37,000 people who voted.

After the referendum, Nayarit Governor Antonio Echeverría García invited the directors of the United States beverage company to visit his state to look for opportunities to invest.

“Nayarit is your home and we are your friends. Here we will always have our doors open to businessmen who want to invest and create jobs that have direct impacts on families’ economies,” he said in a post to Facebook on Tuesday.

“After the decision made by the citizenry of Mexicali not to accept the installation of the Constellation Brands beer brewery, I want to extend an invitation to the directors of the company to come to Nayarit and assess the possibilities of investing in our state.”

He said that unlike Baja California, where the main complaint from citizens who opposed the plant for years was the threat it posed to the region’s water supply, Nayarit has enough water to support such a project.

“Fortunately, our territory has sufficient water capacity, as well as a legal framework that offers guarantees of security and certainty for [the company’s] investments,” he said.

Echeverría was not the first governor, however, to let the company know that his state is interested in being its Plan B.

Seeing the company’s years-long struggle with the citizens of Mexicali, Tabasco Governor Adán Augusto López announced last week that the state was ready to offer Constellation Brands investment guarantees and sufficient resources to build the brewery there.

“There is sufficient water to be able to establish a beer brewing industry in Tabasco,” López told a press conference, claiming that the state has a third of Mexico’s fresh water.

An official from the state Economic Development Ministry, Federico García Mallitz, said that National Water Commission data showed that a possible Constellation Brands brewery in the state would not negatively affect the population’s potable water supply.

“The studies we have about the aquifers give us hard data that allow us to decide if a beer company would have a negative impact or not, and in Tabasco [water] is a competitive benefit, so we wouldn’t have any problems,” he said.

García estimated that the project could generate around 1,000 direct jobs and another 10,000 indirect jobs in the state, taking into account such necessary products as cardboard containers and other packaging.

Governor López said that the investment would be a boost for employment and the economy in the state, which he noted has the highest rate of unemployment in the country.

For its part, Constellation Brands did not readily accept the federal government’s announcement that it was to halt all operations on the plant, but rather issued a statement on Tuesday saying it was “ready to enter into the necessary talks with President López Obrador” about the future of the project.

Sources: El Universal (sp), Milenio (sp)

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