When thinking of Montana, malt, and Mexico, one product comes to mind – craft beer.
A group of barley growers and ranchers from the state recently visited Mexico, and the U.S. Grains Council (USGC) was there to help them learn more about the connection between those three and the role the Council plays in developing that relationship.
The delegation had the opportunity to visit breweries while in Mexico in addition to meeting with Cristina Barba, general director of Mexico’s Craft Brewers Association (ACERMEX).
Fortuna, a brewery that solely uses Montana barley, was the first stop. The group met with Juan Jose Morales, director of the brewery and one of its founders before tasting brews made with Montana malt. Afterward, the group had the opportunity to meet with Barba, who shared an insider’s perspective and an overview of the Mexican craft beer industry, ACERMEX’s goals and the status of the organization’s buyers group. To close out the trip, the group visited Minerva, another craft brewery, where participants were able to see the growing industry in action.
“This trip not only allowed the group to reconnect with organizations like Fortuna, but it also gave the growers a first-hand look at Mexico’s role in the craft brewing industry going forward and how they can play a part in that,” said Javier Chavez, USGC marketing specialist in Mexico.
The craft beer industry in Mexico has grown significantly over the past few years, using malt in larger amounts compared to the commercial beer industry. The Council uses in-person opportunities like this to connect U.S. barley farmers to those who use their product daily.
“While commercial brewers use adjuncts like rice and corn, craft brewers only use malt, which creates great opportunity in the industry for U.S. barley growers,” Chavez said.
Mexico was the top market for U.S. barley and barley products in 2020/2021, totaling 412,000 metric tons (18.9 million bushels). The nation purchased more than half the U.S. barley and barley products exported during the marketing year.
Also on the trade mission to Mexico, staff from the Montana Department of Agriculture joined with seedstock producers to promote Montana’s world-class cattle genetics. The trade mission include Sitz Angus, Holden Herefords, Bar Star Cattle and Churchill Cattle Company.
U.S. Grains Council/MT Dept. of Ag