Heineken is being sued for allegedly misleading customers with their Mexican beer Tecate. Miguel Schelmetty, a customer from New York has now filed a lawsuit because he feels betrayed about the origin of the beer. While believing, he was drinking a Mexican beer, Tecate is actually brewed in the Netherlands.
The website suggests that the beer is brewed in Mexico, including a phrase in Spanish that says “Hecha En Tecate, Baja California, Mexico,” (translation: “Made In Tecate, Baja California, Mexico”). In addition the website states the phrase “Born and brewed in the land we are proud to share our name with: Tecate, Baja California, Mexico.”
Only a small print on the label tells the customer about the true origin of the product. Here it says “Product of Holland” and “Brewed and canned by HBBV Amsterdam, Holland… Imported by Cervezas Mexicanas, White Plains, NY.”
It has now to be proven if production of Tecate was only temporarily transferred to the Netherlands due to a production ban in Mexico in the course of the COVID-19 pandemic earlier this year or if production is aimed to stay permanently outside of Mexico.
"We are aware of a lawsuit that has been filed and we are confident in the merits of our case. Because litigation is pending, we are unable to provide any further comment at this time," a Heineken USA spokesperson told Explore Food & Wine.
Tecate is next to Heineken and Amstel one of the leading international brands of the Dutch brewer. It was originally brewed by Cervecería Tecate, and named after the city of Tecate, Baja California. The local brewery was bought by Cuauhtémoc-Moctezuma in 1955. On 11 January 2010, the Dutch brewing company Heineken International announced it would acquire the beer activities of Fomento Económico Mexicano, S.A.B. de C.V. (FEMSA), including Cuauhtémoc. In exchange for the sale, the Mexican owners of FEMSA received a 20% economic interest in Heineken which makes them one of the largest shareholders of the world’s second largest brewer.