U.S. Beer Consumption Has Forced People In Mexicali To Fight Against A Major Brewery From Threatening Their Water Supply
Residents of Mexicali, Baja California, Mexico are in a battle with Constellation Brands over a strained water supply. Constellation Brands is the company that produces many recognizable brands of beer, wine and liquor, including Modelo and Corona. The problem with Constellation Brands and the residents of Mexicali centers around the construction of a new facility, according to NPR. The brewery is a $1.5 billion project and the company is already working with the local to open the facility that will bring 750 jobs tot he area. However, residents are protesting because of the company’s plan to the water in Mexicali to make beer destined for U.S. consumers, according to NPR.
“It’s a model of exploitation and capitalism where they basically come for the natural resources to exploit them and take them away to wherever the market is,” Jesus Galaz Duarte, a member of the activist group Mexicali Resiste, told NPR. “When the market grows and has to to satisfy consumers, they’re going to deplete the water here. So what’s going to happen? They’re going to go to another place where there’s more water to satisfy the same market and deplete their water. They’re going to leave this region without the resources to live a dignified life.”
Protesters have been clear in saying they are not against companies bringing jobs and opportunities to their community. They do, however, have an issue with companies coming to Mexicali to use up the resources in the area and leaving the residents to pick up the pieces when they move on. Residents have been voicing their anger with Constellation Brands and the local Mexicali government since late 2017. Some of the protests have turned violent with bloodied protesters squaring off with local police. Constellation Brands released a statement on their website on January 1, 2018 in response to the unrest in Mexicali.
“We are committed to being a good steward of the environment in areas where our employees live and work,” reads a statement titled Responsible Brewing on the Constellation Brands website. “As such, our new brewery will be built to the highest operational and environmental standards. As part of this commitment, we commissioned an independent environmental study to ensure our operations (once up and running) would not adversely impact the local environment, including the local community’s access to and use of water.”
Check back with mitú as this story develops.