Baja California brewery Cervecería Wendlandt was named the best in Mexico at the latest edition of an annual beer competition that was held in Mexico City on Thursday.
The Ensenada-based brewery won the award for best large brewery at the Copa Cerveza competition held at the World Trade Center.
There was actually a tie in the category between Wendlandt and Mexicali brewery Cerveza Fauna but the former was awarded the prize because it won more gold medals for its beers.
It is the second time that Wendlandt has been named best large brewery in Mexico after winning the category in 2015, and it’s the sixth consecutive year that a Baja California brewery took the prize.
Three Wendlandt beers were awarded gold medals at this year’s Copa Cerveza: the American wheat ale Veraniega, the India pale ale (IPA) Perro del Mar and the imperial red ale Super Harry Polanco. The brewery also won a silver medal for its stout Foca Parlante.
Wendlandt was established by Eugenio Romero in 2012 and grew quickly to become one of the biggest craft breweries not only in Baja California but all of Mexico. It continues to grow by sending its beer to more and more Mexican states and new markets abroad.
The brewery has two tap rooms in Ensenada and its brews are also available in bottles and on tap at craft beer bars in Mexico City and other large cities across the country.
Wendlandt is one of more than 200 craft breweries in Baja California, which is now the second largest producer of artisanal beer in the country behind only Jalisco.
In 2018, craft breweries in the state made 18.5 million hectoliters of beer, 15.5% of the total quantity of artisanal beer produced in Mexico. Over the past nine years, the industry has become an increasingly important part of the Baja California economy.
Rubén Roa Dueñas, director of the Metropolitan Center for Economic and Business Information, told the newspaper El Imparcial that 95% of the state’s craft breweries are in three municipalities: Tijuana, Mexicali and Ensenada. The other 5% are in Rosarito and Tecate.
Local beer producers say that two main factors have contributed to the rapid proliferation of craft breweries in Baja.
The first is that their product pairs well with the region’s gastronomic offerings, which have won national and international acclaim.
“People are searching for new flavors, new culinary experiences and that’s only achieved through a good combination of food and beverages,” said Raúl Aispiro, president of the Baja Brewers Association.
The second factor is proximity to the beer industry in California, particularly San Diego, which is known as the craft brewing capital of the United States. San Diego craft breweries such as Stone and Coronado have collaborated with Baja brewers to produce special edition beers.
Baja’s breweries also attract tourists and to help them navigate the craft beer scene, a new tourist route and accompanying smartphone app have been developed.
Another magnet for beer lovers is the annual expo Cerveza México. The three-day event started at the Pepsi Center at Mexico City’s World Trade Center today and runs through Sunday.
Scores of craft brewers will have stalls and more than 900 different beers will be available for tasting at the event, which also features conferences at which attendees can learn about craft beer and the Mexican industry.