Using Market Access Program (MAP) funds, the
U.S. Grains Council has helped a growing craft
brewery in Mexico build a strong relationship with
Montana suppliers, facilitating direct barley malt
sales of $200,000.
Large commercial Mexican breweries imported
more than half (54.4 percent) of all U.S. barley and
barley products exported in the MY 2020/2021.
Beer is currently the country’s largest agricultural
export, requiring 500,000 metric tons (MT)
(22,964,800 bushels) of malted barley and 343,000
MT (15,753,853 bushels) of raw barley each year
to keep up with demand.
However, a new, dynamic, and less well-known market is growing in Mexico – the craft brewery
sector. The craft beer industry has grown tenfold in just four years due in large part to the
Council’s customer servicing efforts and its continuing push to capitalize on Mexican consumer
demand in order to benefit those U.S. barley farmers who supply the industry. Craft brewing is
no longer viewed as a casual hobby in Mexico; the number of craft brewers is growing, and
many are investing in their breweries.
Fortuna Brewery, a large craft brewery established in 2014, has
more than doubled its capacity to 300 barrels per month by
investing in equipment expansion and upgrades. Despite
restaurant, bar, and hotel closures, this brewery survived the
pandemic by successfully altering its marketing strategy. By
focusing on top quality and economical raw materials, process,
quality, and extended shelf life, Fortuna has been able to
differentiate itself from its competitors. The Council has aided
Fortuna’s success by facilitating the business relationship to
procure top-quality malt from Montana.
Fortuna Brewery staff first participated in an educational trade
team visit to North Dakota and Montana in 2019. They visited
the Northern Crops Institute to learn about barley trends and the
increasing competition from other crops in the state. Fortuna
representatives were inspired by the U.S. growers’ passion and
tradition. During this trade mission, Fortuna staff also visited
Montana Craft Malt, which had just opened its new malt facility,
to forge a sales relationship. In a 2019 follow-up program, the Council invited Montana Craft
Malt to attend Cerveza Mexico to build upon the relationship and facilitate trials of Montana
Craft Malt in Mexico. Later, in February 2020, Montana Craft Malt traveled to Jalisco to visit
Fortuna Brewery, and the companies collaborated on formulas for a new beer Fortuna was
The Council invested $23,400 in MAP funds in support of this marketing program, leading to
sales of 100 MT of malt valued at $200,000, with an ROI of $8.55 per $1 of MAP funds invested.