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The Pacífico brewery in Mazatlán. The Pacífico brewery in Mazatlán.

Mazatlán turns off water to Pacífico brewery over payment dispute

Officials say it owes 170 million pesos; the company denies the claim

The Pacífico brewery in Mazatlán, Sinaloa, has been without water since July 9 after local authorities cut the supply due to a payment dispute.

Water authorities in the city advised the brewery at the end of May that it owed almost 138.4 million pesos (US $6.9 million) for water usage and just over 31.6 million pesos (US $1.6 million) in unpaid connection fees. Pacífico claims that it is up to date with all its payments.

The newspaper Milenio reported that the Grupo Modelo-owned brewery previously received a letter from the same authorities on April 20 advising it that it had an outstanding connection fee owed to the Sinaloa government. That letter didn’t specify the amount owed.

The brewery said it subsequently received “several verbal threats” that its water supply would be cut and consequently sought an injunction against suspension of water service.

A district court judge ruled in Pacífico’s favor on May 14, granting a provisional suspension order. The judge also ruled that the brewery wasn’t required to pay the alleged debts.

Nevertheless, Mazatlán water authorities continued to seek payment and after not receiving the money it sought, proceeded to cut off the brewery’s water supply.

The suspension of service, the second the company has faced this year, poses a threat to the livelihoods of 1,500 employees and 900 other people whose jobs indirectly depend on the production of beer in the Pacific coast resort city, Milenio said.

The brewery’s inactivity could also lead to a shortage of Pacífico beer in Sinaloa and other states in which the Mazatlán-brewed beverage is distributed, among which are Baja California, Baja California Sur, Durango and Sonora.

The Pacífico brewery has operated at its current location in Mazatlán for the past 39 years. Grupo Modelo, now owned by multinational beverage company Anheuser-Busch InBev, acquired the brewery in 1954.

With reports from Milenio

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