Corona beer producer halts brewing over virus

Bottles of the beer, Corona, a brand of Constellation Brands Inc., sit on a supermarket shelf.

Bottles of the beer, Corona, a brand of Constellation Brands Inc., sit on a supermarket shelf.

Lucy Nicholson /AFP

MEXICO CITY - Two Mexican brewers, including the producers of Corona beer, have said they are reducing production because of the health emergency in the country over the COVID-19 pandemic.

Grupo Modelo -- whose brands include Pacifico and Modelo as well as Corona -- said the measure was in line with the Mexican government's order to suspend all non-essential activities until April 30 to slow the spread of coronavirus. 

READ: Impact of coronavirus on Corona beer sales

"We are in the process of lowering production at our plants to the bare minimum," the company said in a statement on Thursday, adding it would complete the suspension in the following days.

Mexico's government has said that only key sectors such as agribusiness will be able to continue to function under current restrictions.

Grupo Modelo said it was ready to operate with 75 percent of its staff working remotely to guarantee the supply of beer, if the government agreed.

READ: Corona beer says US sales not hit by confusion over virus name

Since the start of the virus crisis, Corona beer has been the punchline of jokes and memes, and an online rumour said sales in the US dropped by around 40 percent after the outbreak.

However, in late February, Constellation Brands, which owns the Corona label, denied the rumour and said sales had stayed strong in the US even as the virus has spread internationally.

Mexico has so far registered over 1,500 confirmed cases of coronavirus and 50 deaths.

Source
AFP