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La Familia Hard Ciders Is Giving Our Favorite Agua Fresca Flavors A Boozy Twist

Growing up in a Mexican or Mexican-American family, you probably tasted the sweetness of jamaica in an agua fresca. You’ve also experienced the salty notes of tamarindo when you wanted to have a refreshing drink. Now those nostalgic flavors of your childhood are growing up with the help of La Familia Hard Cider.

Family-owned La Familia is giving people a delicious and boozy taste of our favorite agua fresca flavors.

Photo courtesy of La Familia

La Familia bills itself as the first jamaica and tamarindo ciders in Oregon, and was named the first Latino-owned cider company in Oregon by several cider and craft brewery outlets in Oregon. It might even be one of the only Latino-owned cider producers in the country!

The Oregon-based company is a craft cider brewery started by Mexican-Americans Jose Gonzalez and his wife Shani, along with his two children, JJ, 24, and Jazelle, 22.

Photo courtesy of La Familia

A couple of years ago, after joining his wife on a mini tour of some taquerias, a thought popped into Gonzalez’s head and started brewing. Jose thought up the novel idea of bringing agua frescas into the craft brewery scene.

“[I told my wife], wouldn’t it be great if someone offered ciders with agua fresca,” Jose says.

“We never made a hard cider and believed we could,” he says of how his business idea started to take shape.

Jose was serious about making his agua fresca cider company and sought out the expertise of one of Oregon’s top cider makers to turn his mother’s agua fresca recipes into a bubbly brew.

Once the recipe was perfected, it came to settling on a name for the company, and the family looks inward to their family roots and recipes.

The company officially launched on Cinco de Mayo weekend in 2017 and recently celebrated its two-year anniversary by launching its ciders in a new 12-oz can.

“When La Familia came out, we kept thinking about our family, how we’re doing it for family—let’s just call it ‘la familia.’ The name comes with lots of responsibility,” Jazelle says.

The flavors of ciders the company makes include jamaica, tamarindo, manzana, and their seasonal best seller—guayaba. La Familia’s jamaica cider has won two medals in cider competitions so far.

Each family member has favorite flavor: Jazelle’s is tamarindo, JJ’s is jamaica, and Jose loves the guayaba flavor.

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Jose prides himself on using natural ingredients to make all the ciders. He says the recipes include fresh 100 percent apple juice, along with hibiscus leaves for the jamaica cider, tamarind paste for the tamarindo flavor and fresh guava for the guayaba seasonal cider. He says the hardest part at first was getting all the ingredients to Oregon.

“The first challenge was finding the ingredients bc they weren’t commercially available locally. All [the ingredients] come from Mexico, and we found a distributor in California,” Jose says.

Jose adds that the ciders contain no artificial flavors, just some “cane sugar to balance it out a little bit.”

Jose is currently working on opening a tap room in Salem, Oregon and getting more distributors to stock his family’s ciders across the state. La Familia also wants to start distributing and create a tap room in California.

“We want to introduce new flavors—every agua fresca that makes sense with cider,” he says.

“Our goal is to be the Corona of the hard cider world, and grow as big as we can,” he adds.

Besides being the Corona of ciders, La Familia also wants to make an impact in the Latino community of Oregon.

Since its inception, the company has donated to local immigration advocacy groups. In 2017, the company donated to Causa Salem, which was helping DACA youth at the time. In 2018, the company made a donation to Innovation Law Lab, Portland, a nonprofit immigration legal services organization.

A Latino-owned company helping its local community one cider bottle at a time. That’s something to raise our glass to—cheers!

READ: U.S. Beer Consumption Has Forced People In Mexicali To Fight Against A Major Brewery From Threatening Their Water Supply

Tainted Alcohol Kills 100 People In Mexico Amid COVID-19 Restrictions

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Tainted Alcohol Kills 100 People In Mexico Amid COVID-19 Restrictions

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Mexico is currently grappling with its own COVID-19 outbreak and response. Some states in Mexico have partially or fully banned the sale of alcohol. This led to an underground industry of alcohol in Mexico that has had deadly consequences.

More than 100 people have died of tainted alcohol in Mexico during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Puebla has been the most affected state with 40 deaths reported from the tainted alcohol. Twenty of those fatalities in Puebla took happened in Chiconcuautla, which has a population of about 15,000 people. Bootleg alcohol is growing in popularity because the sale of alcohol has been partially or completely banned in different municipalities and states.

Police are starting to round up the illegal liquor.

Mexican authorities are seizing gallons and gallons of unmarked alcohol. The alcohol, according to some reports, is a popularized moonshine available in Mexico. However, the batches contain a toxic and highly flammable ingredient that is causing the fatalities.

“It’s possible to begin to speculate that with a smaller supply of regulated alcohol, there’s a larger supply of unregulated alcohol,” Gady Zabicky Sirot, the director of the National Commission Against Addictions in Mexico, told The New York Times.

Mexican authorities have found methanol in the illegal alcohol that has been seized.

Mexican police have discovered methanol in the seized illegal alcohol. Methanol, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), “is a toxic alcohol that is used industrially as a solvent, pesticide, and alternative fuel source.”

The CDC website further states: “Most methanol poisonings occur as a result of drinking beverages contaminated with methanol or from drinking methanol-containing products. In the industrial setting, inhalation of high concentrations of methanol vapor and absorption of methanol through the skin are as effective as the oral route in producing toxic effects.”

More than 40,000 people in Mexico have tested positive for COVID-19.

Credit: Unsplash

The Mexican president was criticized early in the outbreak for not taking the virus seriously. More than 4,200 people have died of the virus in Mexico and the number keeps climbing. Mexican states implemented bans on alcohol to prevent social activities that could lead to an increase in COVID-19 infections.

Part of the alcohol shortage is in part because of the Mexican government labeling breweries as nonessential.

The Mexican government forced breweries and distilleries to shut down production as part of their COVID-19 lockdown measures. The sudden shut down of these production facilities has forced some Mexicans to go without their alcohol unexpectedly.

Some of the bootleggers have been arrested by Mexican authorities.

According to The Yucatan Times, authorities allegedly arrested a person in Acanceh who was providing the illegal alcohol in the municipality. The alcohol in the area killed six people who drank it.

READ: Mattel Is Supporting Children Of COVID-19 First Responders With Career Barbie Dolls

Latinas In Texas Are Among The Most Affected By The Wage Gap And It’s Getting Worse

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Latinas In Texas Are Among The Most Affected By The Wage Gap And It’s Getting Worse

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According to new research, Latina workers had to work until Nov. 20, 2019, to be paid the same wages as white non-Hispanic men in 2018, and it’s even worse in Texas. Representative Lizzie Fletcher (D-Houston) highlighted that fact on Latina Equal Pay Day, Nov. 20, in a tweet. “In Texas, Latinas make less than $0.45 for every dollar a man makes. That makes us 49th in the nation. The Senate must pass the (Paycheck Fairness Act) now. Latinas deserve better — we all do,” the Representative tweeted. Texas’s House of Representatives approved the Paycheck Fairness Act, sending it to the Senate for a vote back in March. The bill has been stalled in the Senate ever since. If passed into law, the Paycheck Fairness Act would increase penalties for employers that issue discriminatory wages to their workers. The bill would also require employers to report pay information to the Department of Labor, holding employers accountable for paying Latinas unfairly.

Last year, Latina Equal Pay Day was on Nov. 1, but Latinas have to work an extra 20 days than last year to make the same as their white male counterparts.

CREDIT: @REPFLETCHER / TWITTER

Last year, Texas was “the third-worst state for Latinas when it comes to the wage gap,” Maya Raghu, the Director of Workplace Equality at the National Women’s Law Center told Houston Public Media. She added that “the wage gap for Latinas has barely budged in about 30 years.” This year, Texas is the second-worst state in America for Latinas to make a living wage. Rep. Fletcher took Latina Equal Pay Day as an opportunity to push for legislation of the Paycheck Fairness Act. Later, Rep. Fletcher clarified her statement in a follow-up tweet, saying, “Someone asked the question, so to be clear: this statistic refers to white, non-Hispanic men.”

Rep. Fletcher received plenty of backlash from Twitter trolls, who nearly cried ‘white racism’ and spewed anti-immigrant rhetoric. “Why Latinas?  Why not just level it for all????  After all Latinas are your new majority. Who will be looking after the new minority?” asked Twitter user Shifty Schiff. “NO to #LatinaEqualPayDay !! Latinas crossing the border INCREASE chances Americans will be trafficked. #BuildTheWall traitor!!” tweeted another user in response to Rep. Fletcher. Another troll tweeted, “Equal opportunity, not equal outcome.  You can’t enforce equal outcome unless you take all opportunity away from everyone. This is not the job of government!”

In fact, reports show that the pay gap widens the more educated a Latina becomes.

CREDIT: LEANIN.ORG

Unfortunately, education appears to be a key factor, robbing Latinas of opportunities to compete in higher-wage fields because of the lack of access to education. In 2013, 19 percent of all Latina-Americans aged 25-29 had completed a college degree compared to 44 percent of white women, according to a government study. When you add documentation as a factor, the statistics plummet. Still, when you control for education, the gap only gets worse, according to the Bureau of Labor statistics. Latinas in the legal field are paid an average salary of $52,477 compared to white men who earn an average of $150,487, averaging a 65 percent pay gap, according to the Bureau of Labor. While Latina CEOs and General Managers are paid 35 percent less than their white non-Hispanic male counterparts.

More than half of Latina mothers are the primary income-earners in their household, and the disparities become inherited. Over the course of her career, the average Latina would earn over $1.1 million more if paid fairly, according to the National Partnership for Women & Families April 2019 report. The report cited that “if the wage gap were eliminated, on average, a Latina working full time, year-round would have enough money to afford one of the following: more than three additional years of child care, nearly 19 additional months of mortgage payments, more than two additional years of rent, almost two years of the maximum retirement contribution to her employer-sponsored 401(k) retirement account, or more than five years of the maximum retirement contribution to her Traditional or Roth IRA account.”

Nearly 1 in 3 Americans are not even aware of the Latina pay gap, according to a LeanIn.Org/SurveyMonkey poll.

CREDIT: LEANIN.ORG

A sample of 5,690 adults polled online between Oct. 25-29, 2019 showed that nearly 1,900 surveyors were not aware of the Latina pay gap. Half of them were not aware of the pay gap between Latinas and white women. The dollar for dollar wage gap is relevant when you control for job title, education, and location, but doesn’t factor in discrimination that favors white men over Latina women for promotion. The LeanIn.org/SurveyMonkey poll found that “for every 100 men who are promoted to manager, only 68 Latinas are promoted. This ‘broken rung’ results in more Latinas getting stuck at entry-level.”

READ: Today Is The Day To Stand Up Against This Horrible Latina Wage Gap And Here’s What You Can Do To Close It