Chicago’s Cruz Blanca Brewery Launches Distribution in Texas
Mexican cervezas are on the rise with U.S. consumers. In 2021, Modelo Especial became the second-most popular beer brand in America after Bud Light. Fellow Constellation Brands brews Corona and Pacifico are running just behind Modelo as the third and fourth most-purchased import beers (Dutch mainstay Heineken has held on to the second slot). Other Mexican heavyweights like Dos Equis, Sol, Carta Blanca, Tecate, and Estrella Jalisco are also on the rise in the U.S.
While Mexican macrobrews are surging, Mexican craft beer remains a niche proposition with limited availability nationally. American craft brewers have dabbled in Mexican-style cervezas with a few national successes, most notably Stone’s Buenaveza and Firestone Walker’s 805 Cerveza. Central Texas breweries have also dabbled with Mexican lagers. However, few craft breweries in the U.S. have fully committed to Mexican-style brews. Enter Chicago’s Cruz Blanca Brewery, which began distribution to Texas on September 1st.
Cruz Blanca was co-founded in 2016 by Manny Valdes and Texas native Jacob Sembrano, who previously worked as a chef and as a brewer for Goose Island. In addition to the best-selling Mexico Calling Lager, the brewery has pushed beyond traditional Mexican styles to produce IPAs, wild ales, and barrel-aged beers. They have experienced rapid growth in Chicago and throughout Illinois, with sales volume expected to double in 2022.
After beginning distribution to Wisconsin in 2021, Cruz Blanca set their sights on Texas. According to Valdes, “With the second largest Mexican population in the US, Texas is a natural extension for a cerveza brand with a deep passion for Mexican and TexMex flavors.” The brewery’s product line includes Mexico Calling Lager Especial, Vamos Vienna Lager, Palm Shade Hazy Tropical IPA, and La Floridita Sparkling Rosé.