Monday, November 16, 2009

Cerveza Casera (homebrew)

The homebrew movement in Mexico is at the infant stage in development, kind of like it was in the U.S. in the early 80's. Sparse product availability, exorbitant costs and questionable freshness or quality. I can only find two homebrew retail outlets in all of Mexico, Fermentando and Homebrewing Mexico and the inventory at both is very limited and expensive. For instance, Cascade hops at Fermentando are $6 and at Homebrew Mexico, $13 U.S. per ounce! I guess this is understandable considering the expense of importing the product from Oregon or Washington to Mexico City but I think that the price is more an indication of the uniqueness of the hobby and the willingness of the newly obsessed Mexican homebrewer to pay any price to fulfill his desire to brew his own beer. It is difficult to get some of the equipment we're used to having in the States. For instance, at Homebrew Mexico you can get the vial that holds the liquid for the hydrometer test but the hydrometer itself, is unavailable.


malta en grano (0)


Don't get me wrong here, I want to support these fledgling home brewing businesses by buying locally so that the movement can progress like it has in the States. Creating a Mexican homebrewing market that has all of the ingredients and products that we need to make good beer. At the same time, I have an obligation to inform my Mexican readers of the opportunities to procure the necessary equipment and ingredients that we enjoy in the U.S. and at the same time, to save significant dinero. And maybe this information will incite these retail outlets to increase their inventory with reasonably priced goods.


Note: If you live in a small or remote region in Mexico this suggestion may not apply, but for all others, I believe this information will save you some money and make it easy for you to get the equipment you need.

First, locate a 'cross border' mail service like La Conexion or Border Crossings that will shuttle packages down to your town from a city in Texas. These services will most likely be limited to communities that have a large expat population. In my case, I use La Conexion in San Miguel de Allende, Mexico via Laredo, Texas. After UPS ships my package to Texas, I will be paying approximately $1.00 per pound for the goods and %15-%17 surcharge on the value of the product to have it shuttled down to San Miguel. This can be a huge savings when you consider that a pound of hops right now are running about $10. The 'cross border' mail service costs in this case would only be $2.70 which if you include the cost of the hops and include the $8 UPS charge to get them to Texas would end up being around $21. In other words when all is said and done, an ounce of hops would run you about $1.40 an ounce not the excessive $6 an ounce, quite a huge savings. Even more of a savings is the cost of yeast which can be %50 less expensive than purchasing from the Mexican homebrew outlets. I haven't gone over all of the equipment prices at Fermentando or Homebrewing Mexico but something typical like a hydrometer costs $12 compared to More Beer price of $6 plus shipping. If you live anywhere in the state of Guanajuato, La Conexion and Border Crossings may be the only mail service available to you. In Baja you could use Yet Mail which has multiple services besides mail delivery.
By the way, shipping into Mexico using UPS or FedX is cost prohibitive, in fact after a quick inquiry I discovered that it would cost me $80 to send a 1 lb. package via UPS to San Miguel De Allende from California at their cheapest rate.

Secondly, it is important to mark on or in the shipping package, the estimated value of the content, if not, the inspectors at the border will assign a value that may be more than it's worth and cost you more in charges.
Third, if you don't live in a town that has this service but are within a reasonable distance of one that does, it may be worth it for you make the trip and pick it up yourself. Also, see if you can connect with another brewer that would be willing to receive your packages. Once the Mexican homebrewing community grows in popularity, access to these goods will be as easy to get as in the States. Until then, this is one possibility for a select few that are in proximity to towns with these great mail services.
If you live in or near a town that has this service, please post it here in the comment section for other Mexican homebrewers to use as a source.

18 comments:

Anonymous said...

I have been running HomebrewingMexico for 5 years now and have some comments that can give your readers a more comprehensive outlook. First at all, I really got your points. Using the services that you recommend can be a nice work-around in the small scale. Now,importing grain malts- not for a 5 gallon batch but to resell them- is a quite different story. Here is the hard data: Import duties for some German malts can be 162% NOT COUNTING FREIGHTS.Importing Hops or liquid yeast is a burocratic nightmare that I am not able to properly describe given my broken English.And it is even worst for the equipment, for instance hydrometers are considered as lab equipment and a they are treated differently. On the other hand, we at HBM are very gratefull with the ex-pats community. Most of them are aware of the mexican situation on regards of this hobby so we count on them to continue with this endeavour. Historically they count for more than 30% of our sales despite the fact that they come back from home with their luggage loaded with good stuff for their hobby. And, LBNL, I invite all of you to www.cervecerosmexicanos.ning.com - our social network. I am convinced that your inputs will be very welcome by our comunity.

backyardbrewer.blogspot.com said...

Thank you for responding here Homebrew Mexico.
I would like to know if it is possible for you to purchase malted barley from the wholesaler in Mexico 'Malta-y-Cebada' for resale at a good price. Also, is there a service in D.F. that shuttles goods down from the states like I noted in my post? That would be good information for homebrewers in Mexcico that visit this site.

Anonymous said...

is it legal to sell homebrewed beer in mexico?

Beer Diary... said...

It in not legal to sell homebrew in Mexico. You are required to obtain license whether you sell wholesale, direct to the public or to the public for take-away consumption.

Luis said...

I understand that compared to the States the homebrewing scene in Mexico is way behind but it getting bigger and stronger.
I would like to invite you to visit our website www.haztucheve.com where we are working towards making homebrewing easier in Mexico. Cheers.

Beer Diary... said...

Hola Luis!
thanks for visiting Beer Diary... and I have to tell you that I am thankful for people like you taking Mexican homebrew to the people. I would love to come back to San Miguel and have easy access to ingredients and equipment.

Anonymous said...

Hey man

I live in San Luis Potosi. I am Scottish.

I would really love to get a full kit with ingredients similar to what there is back home..


I could really use some advice and direction

cheers man


ali

Beer Diary... said...

Hi Ali,
If you want to brew a kit, your best bet is to order it from one of the Mexican homebrew stores and have them ship it to you. Try: Fermentando at

http://fermentando.com.mx/mystore/eng/catalog.php?id=36

and ask about shipping. Other than that advice I would recommend clicking on the Ingredients section of the Beer Diary... side bar. That should give you the names of businesses in Mx. that sell bulk ingredients. Good luck down there and keep us posted on your efforts.
Cheers!

Luis said...

Good day Ali, please send us an email to info@haztucheve.com.

Haztucheve.com is also located in San Luis Potosi.

Cheers, Luis.

Juan Jose Garcia said...

Now, you can find http://brewmasters.com.mx/ as your supplier.

timo said...

I am moving to Mexico in January. I already have all my home brew equipment, including about 40 corny kegs. Will I be able to bring my equipment in? If I can, what type of visa is necessary? I also make wine, but I think that endeavor will be reduced to fruit wines. Probably easier to do than beer. I use corny kegs for both. Beer I never bottle. Am I allowed to bring in gas tanks?

timo said...

BTW, what does a license to sell your beer in Mexico cost?

Mark Taylor said...

Hi Timo,
You can bring all of your homebrew equipment into mexico even with a tourist visa. If you are driving the tanks of gas are not problem but If you're flying you will not be able to bring any pressurized tanks on the plan. Regarding the resale lic. for beer I do not know the cost but you will need a mfg. lic. to begin with and that is around 150,000 peso or the equivelant of $12,000 usd. Good luck.

timo said...

Thanks Mark. I only drove onto Mexico once. That was from Guatemala. I remember from the visa that you have to declare plants or vegetables, which I believe are illegal. I would imagine the same would apply to grain.
This time I will be towing a trailer heading for Merida.

Mark Taylor said...

Timo,
processed material like MALTED barley do not need to be declared. This is also true of hop pellets since they have also been processed. Only raw or fresh grain or veg. matter is of concern. I've brought down malt and hop pellets often and without problems.

timo said...

Mark,
What kind of duty do you pay to bring grains, equipment, etc into Mexico? According to Nafta, it should be duty free. But I know that is a joke for small quantities.

Mark Taylor said...

Nada! Don't worry about it if you're bringing in small amounts. It doesn't get expensive until you ship stuff in.

Mark Taylor said...

By the way, Please click on the 'Friends' button on the sidebar. I'm trying to reach 100 followers to Beer Diary...
Thanks

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...