In a remarkable feat, Mexico has firmly established itself as the unrivaled leader in the global beer export industry, outshining all other nations and accounting for a staggering 30 percent of the world's export-beer market, according to trade data released by Geneva-based Trade Data Monitor.
In the last 15 years, Mexico's beer export volume surpasses that of any other country by more than double, leaving behind renowned brewing nations such as the Netherlands (14 percent), Belgium (13 percent), and Germany (9 percent).
Leading the pack on the import side is the United States, which stands as the largest importer of beer globally. Approximately 40 percent of all international beer imports find their way into the U.S. market.
The placement of Mexico at the pinnacle of the exporters' list and the United States at the top of its counterpart, the overall importers' list, is far from a mere coincidence.
Looking closer at Mexico’s export figures one can see that 97 percent of the total exports heading north across the US-Mexico border and 80 percent of the US beer import expenditure is directed towards Mexican brews. This demonstrates the pivotal role that Mexico now plays in the American beer market.
While Mexico continues to lead in beer exports, other notable sources of beer imports for the United States including the Netherlands, Ireland, Canada, Germany, and Belgium have decreased in importance. One of the reasons for this is the fact that AB InBev has begun domestic brewing of its Belgian premium brand, Stella Artois, and its German beer, Beck's, a few years ago, effectively substituting imports from these nations
However, this is not the case for Mexico. In 2012, AB InBev launched a USD 20.1 billion bid to acquire the remaining stake in Mexico's leading brewery, Grupo Modelo, in which they already held a partial ownership. In order to prevent AB InBev from becoming excessively dominant in the U.S. beer market, the U.S. antitrust watchdog mandated that AB InBev divest the brand and distribution rights of most of its Mexican beers in the U.S. to a third party.
This decision led Constellation Brands, a company previously focused solely on wines and spirits, to enter the scene as the buyer. Constellation Brands that did not have breweries in the US at that time and also bought one of the world’s biggest breweries near Piedras Negras, close to the US border from AB Inbev could significantly increase the import of Mexican beers into the U.S. market without considering the potential negative impact on the sales of domestic U.S. beers, in contrast to AB InBev before.
Since the take-over, Mexico’s monthly global beer exports have more than doubled from USD 228 million in January 2013 to USD 469 million in December 2023, despite the fact that AB InBev has substituted substantial amounts of their Mexican beer exports to other parts of the world by local production. (inside.beer, 5.11.2019)