Culture

Here’s How This Man Created A Brewery Aimed At Highlighting The Best Of Mexican-American Culture

David Favela isn’t your typical brewer. He’s not fond of IPA’s or your usual German pilsner. His brewery, Border X Brewing, might also look like your typical neighborhood pub from the outside. But you won’t find a jukebox or cheesy neon signs on the walls.

Favela, 52, intends on straying away from your typical brewery business model. Instead, he is trying to create a brewery experience with Latin culture and community at the center of it.

“From the start, we didn’t bother with red ales and IPA’S because in all honesty none of us are ‘that.’ We didn’t grow up with that or any of those flavors,” Favela says. “If we’re not putting our personal experiences or palettes into our brewing then why bother? Quite frankly, we needed to bring some of our Latin background to this.”

This is the heart and mission of Border X Brewing. The brewery opened it’s first doors in 2014 just miles from the U.S.-Mexico border crossing in Otay Mesa before relocating to Barrio Logan, a largely Chicano neighborhood in San Diego. But now, Favela has his eyes set on tapping into the Latino community in Los Angeles.

With an array of Latin flavored beers, Border X Brewing is making a name for its self in the growing Southern California brewery scene.

Credit: Javier Rojas

Favela is the CEO of the growing brewery company that has become popular for its fusion of ingredients familiar in Latino kitchens. Beers like the Blood Saison, inspired by agua de jamaica, is made with hibiscus flowers and agave. Or the Golden Horchata Stout, a gold medal winner at the L.A. International Beer Festival, is brewed with vanilla and canela.

“We’re not the first brewers to use jamaica or horchata but many don’t come from that background to fully understand how important these flavors are and mean to our identity,” Favela says.

Born in San Diego, Favela grew up in a largely Latino neighborhood and quickly realized he wanted community and family to be the base of his work. That’s why after working at Hewlett Packard for 22 years, he decided to invest in brewing. Along with his brother and two nephews, they set on creating a business that revolved around community involvement and beer.

“I really just wanted to hang out with my family and do something special together,” Favela says. “The question in my head was always could we create a space that builds community and at the same time showcases our roots? Yes.”

Border X quickly garnered popularity in it’s San Diego location. After five years of operating out of the Barrio Logan neighborhood, the brewery has expanded to Los Angeles.

Credit: Javier Rojas

Border X Brewing opened the doors to it’s newest location in the City of Bell back in March. The thriving Latino suburb in Southeast Los Angeles has seen immense growth in the last few years. Favela also sees the expansion in Bell as a way to connect with another working-class Latino community.

“We are a community-based brewery, we’re about events and we’re about the people living in those communities. Bell fit the bill for us,” Favela says. “A lot of people come here and they don’t even drink; they just like being part of this experience we’re trying to create.

Upon walking into the new location you’ll see framed photos of local low-rider groups and Chicanos dressed in zoot-suit style attire. The work comes from local artists which is something Favela is proud of. In the four months that the location has been open, it’s hosted multiple local musicians, a low-rider event and a community art show that are all part of the brewery’s core mission.

“We host fundraisers, we have art shows and, in many ways, this place becomes a crossroads for so many different walks of life,” Favela says. “In Barrio-Logan we connected with ex and current gang members, artists and locals. It’s a collective of different people all connecting.”

The City of Bell wasn’t the first option for the newest location. Favela originally looked at Boyle Heights, another largely Latino working-class neighborhood.

Credit: Javier Rojas

When planning the move to Los Angeles, Favela originally considered opening in Boyle Heights, the community home to the Chicano movement of the ’60s. Yet he eventually reconsidered after thoughts of gentrification. He knew about the rapid changes in the neighborhood and didn’t want to intrude and have the community turn on them as other new businesses have.

“Things like coffee shops and art galleries should be community assets but they’ve become easy targets. I grew in these barrios and I’m all for them but it begs the question of how to improve these communities without hurting or displacing people.” Favela said.

There are many factors he considers when expanding the brewery, the biggest being the community. This is important to him and he knows the effect a new business can have on a neighborhood like Boyle Heights.

“There are certain criteria I’ve established and one of them is ‘Are you creating a service for a demographic waiting to come into the community or are you serving the community that’s already there,” Favela says. “When you come in here you’ll find the demographic is 90-95 percent Latino. We try to recognize and celebrate that local history where our taste rooms are.”

For Favela, he sees the brewery as a way to connect his Latino background to a demographic that’s been waiting to be heard.

Credit: Javier Rojas

Border X Brewing has seen it’s a first and second wave of success in San Diego and now in LA. But for Favela, he knows this is just the start. He plans to expand to more locations such as Long Beach and Santa Ana, both largely Latino areas. That also means brewing new beer flavors that represent those communities.

“In Latin America, there are over 2,000 fermentation practices. Most of the beers here you won’t find anywhere else and we’re just getting started,” he says. “Mazapan beer, abuelita chocolate and peppino sour, this is just who we are.”

Favela smiles as he recalls those first days back at the original brewery location near the U.S-Mexico border. He reminds himself of how important it is to stay true to himself and how the customers have been a huge reason behind this passion.

“I’m constantly told by people when they walk into the brewery about how much they feel at home,” Favela says. They say ‘I feel so comfortable here’ and “I feel like you made this place for me’ and I say to them ‘I absolutely did’ and that’s special.”

READ: The Makers Of Corona Beer Are Spending Billions To Get Into The Weed Industry

Notice any needed corrections? Please email us at corrections@wearemitu.com

Google Paid Tribute To Mariachi Music With A Doodle And Break Out The Mezcal Because It’s Gonna Give You Tears!

Things That Matter

Google Paid Tribute To Mariachi Music With A Doodle And Break Out The Mezcal Because It’s Gonna Give You Tears!

ULISES RUIZ / Getty

Mariachi is officially getting the search engine clout it deserves!

Google Doodle’s latest feature celebrates the musical genre of mariachi. As an ode to the anniversary of the week that UNESCO inscribed mariachi on its Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity. The genre of Regional Mexican music goes back to the 18th century.

Google’s latest Doodle features an animated video of mariachi serenading.

Remote file
Google

Singing “Cielito Lindo,” which is a song that encaptures Mexican pride, the doodle features a band of mariachi members.

Together they sing the following lyrics”De la Sierra Morena/cielito lindo, vienen bajando/Un par de ojitos negros/cielito lindo, de contrabando/ Ay, ay, ay, ay/Canta y no llores/Porque cantando se alegran/cielito lindo, los corazones.”

The lyrics translate to “From the Sierra Morena/Lovely sweet one, is prancing down/A pair of little black eyes/Lovely sweet one, is sneaking by/ Ay, ay, ay, ay/Sing, don’t cry/Because singing makes rejoice/Lovely sweet one, our hearts.”

For the doodle, the mariachi band wears traditional trajes de charro (charro suits) while strumming the traditional instruments of the genre.

Plucking away at the guitarrón, vihuela, and violin, other members use a trumpet and harp. According to Newsweek, “The tradition of mariachi originated in west-central Mexico around the turn of the 19th century, though its exact origins are murky. The musical genre began as entirely instrumental, made up of the sounds of stringed instruments, before vocals and the trumpet were eventually added.”

No doubt Google’s latest Doodle has won over the hearts of various searchers.

“What a beautiful tribute… thank you!” one user wrote.

“The Google doodle for today is a tribute to mariachis & it’s a little video that plays cielito lindo I am not okay, cielito lindo is my favorite mariachi song, it’s too cute,” another commented while another user wrote “I was so shocked when I clicked on this last night. What a wonderful surprise.”

Sweetly, the doodle really seemed to hit home for so many. “The Google Doodle today nearly made me cry,” one very happy user noted. “It was so unexpected and made me miss home for the first time since I moved.”

Notice any needed corrections? Please email us at corrections@wearemitu.com

Former Nickelodeon Star Drake Bell Has Rebranded as a Latin Artist and People Are Confused

Entertainment

Former Nickelodeon Star Drake Bell Has Rebranded as a Latin Artist and People Are Confused

Photo by John Sciulli/WireImage

When you think of successful Latin music artists, the name “Drake Bell” probably doesn’t come to mind. In fact, the name “Drake Bell” probably doesn’t come to mind when you think of any musician–the man hasn’t been on the radar much since his Nickelodeon went off the airwaves in 2007. But recently, the former teen star has been making headlines for his unexpected career pivot.

Fans were confused when Drake Bell posted a video to Instagram advertising his services on the celebrity “shout out” app, Cameo on Saturday. While the message was run-of-the-mill (find me on Cameo! Pay me money!), the content was what was surprising: Bell relayed the message in both English and Spanish. A deeper dive into Bell’s social media history quickly explained the perplexing post.

Last November, Bell announced on his Twitter page that he would only be posting in Spanish on his social media pages from that point forward.

Shortly after, he changed his profile name from “Drake Bell” to “Drake Campana” (get it?). He also reps a Mexican flag next to his name.

As of now, Bell has released a dual Spanish-English language album called “Sesiones En Casa” with songs named “Fuego Lento” and “La Camisa Negra”. According to Spotify statistics, Bell’s strategy seems to be working. Out of the dozens of songs he’s released over the year, two of Bell’s Top Five streamed Spotify songs are Spanish-language ones.

It seems that Drake “Campana” Bell is truly committing to becoming a full-time Latin pop star.

Bell described his decision in a July interview with Esquire Mexico. ““I wanted to do something with Latin rhythms for my fans in Mexico,” he said. “I wanted to do something like what I have heard on my tours and visits to Mexico. I love writing in Spanish, it is a beautiful language.”

He explained that his love of Mexican culture comes from growing up in Southern California, which is geographically close to the Mexican border. Growing up near Mexico made him “fall in love” with the culture. He also posted a picture to Instagram of his own Mexican ID with a Mexican address, suggesting that he’s made the country his new home.

Photo: drakebell/Instagram

Some fans are skeptical of the timing of Bell’s image re-brand.

Earlier this year, Bell’s ex-girlfriend, Jimi Ono, took to TikTok to accuse the singer of abusing her while they were together from 2006 to 2009. Ono outlined the accusations in a disturbing TikTok video.

@jimiono

This is my truth. I hope this message reaches young girls, and that no one has to go through what I did. #2020survivor

♬ original sound – Jimi Ono

“When I started dating Drake, I was 16. I was homeschooled. I moved in with him,” Ono said. “It wasn’t until about a year when the verbal abuse started, and when I say ‘verbal abuse,’ imagine the worst type of verbal abuse you could ever imagine, and that was what I got. It then turned to physical–hitting, throwing, everything.”

Bell publicly denied the accusations, calling them a “misguided quest for more money or attention”. Other observers have noted that Bell began his re-brand about a year ago while Ono’s accusations become public just a few months ago. So, it seems like Bell’s decision to focus on his Mexican fans had been in the works for a while.

It’s likely we’ll never know the true reasons behind Bell’s decision to become a Latin artist, but it’s most plausible that his sales were simply doing better in Mexico. And if his re-brand was simply a stunt for more attention, well…it’s working.

Notice any needed corrections? Please email us at corrections@wearemitu.com