The black market for beer in Sonora is booming, with prices soaring to 3,000 pesos, about US $125, on Sunday for a 24-pack on social media. Two months ago, the price for a 24-pack was around 240 pesos in stores.
Those looking to buy beer have turned to Facebook, as have those reselling beer at exorbitant prices. Beer production in Mexico has been shut down since early April, and supplies are nearly exhausted in several states around the country.
Thousands of people began lining up at dawn last Wednesday in the state capital of Hermosillo, waiting for hours in 45 C heat for the chance to purchase just one overpriced 24-pack of beer each at 54 stores that still had stock.
And the beer shortage may not let up anytime soon.
Negotiations to reactivate the beer industry “are at a standstill,” admits the president of the National Agricultural Council (CNA), Bosco de la Vega Valladolid.
Despite predictions last week by the head of the consumer protection agency Profeco that beer production in Mexico might start up again in mid-May, the decision lies with the Ministry of Health’s Hugo López-Gatell, who de la Vega says “won’t listen to reason” as far as beer is concerned.
De la Vega estimates that the beer industry employs, directly and indirectly, around 600,000 people. Beer is also the lifeblood for 800,000 corner stores.
Should breweries be allowed to reopen, it will take time to ramp up production and distribution as the fermentation process alone takes between 30 and 60 days.
Meanwhile, some plants making beer for export have been allowed to continue operating, as has the tequila industry.
Source: El Universal (sp)