An alcoholic beverage is a drink that contains ethanol. Alcoholic beverages are divided into three general classes for taxation and regulation of production: beers, wines, and spirits (distilled beverages). They are legally consumed in most countries around the world. More than 100 countries have laws regulating their production, sale, and consumption. Beer is the third most popular drink in the world, after water and tea.
Alcoholic beverages have been consumed by humans since the Neolithic era; the earliest evidence of alcohol was discovered in Jiahu, dating from 7000–6600 BC. The production and consumption of alcohol occurs in most cultures of the world, from hunter-gatherer peoples to nation-states.
Grupo Modelo is a large brewery in Mexico. It has 63% of the Mexican beer market, and exports beer to most countries of the world. Its export brands include Corona, Modelo, and Pacífico. Grupo Modelo also brews brands intended solely for the domestic Mexican market, Estrella (a local beer found only in western Mexico); and León and Montejo (originally local to Yucatán but now available nationwide). Grupo Modelo has exclusive rights in Mexico for the import and distribution of beer produced by Anheuser-Busch. Until the 1960s, Grupo Modelo used red poppy flowers in its advertising, where almost any image it used had poppy flowers somewhere in the image.
On June 12, 2008, The Wall Street Journal stated that Anheuser-Busch InBev, which owned a non-controlling 50% stake in the company, may attempt to acquire the remaining 50%. On June 29, 2012, it was announced that Anheuser-Busch InBev would acquire the remaining 50% stake for an all cash price of $20.1 billion. On January 31, 2013, the U.S. Justice Department filed an anti-trust suit in an attempt to prevent the buyout. The matter was settled and the two companies merged in June 2013, with the transfer of all United States rights to Constellation Brands. As a result all of the company's brands are made (in Mexico) by an unrelated company. The company no longer is allowed to export to the United States.
Beer in Mexico has a long history. While Mesoamerican cultures knew of fermented alcoholic beverages, including a corn beer, long before the Spanish conquest, European style beer brewed with barley was introduced with the Spanish soon after Hernán Cortés’ arrival. Production of this beer here was limited during the colonial period due to the lack of materials and severe restrictions and taxes placed on the product by Spanish authorities. After the Mexican War of Independence, these restrictions disappeared, and the industry was permitted to develop. However, the arrival of German immigrants and the short-lived empire of Austrian Maximilian I in the 19th century provided the impetus for the opening of many breweries in various parts of the country. By 1918, there were 36 brewing companies, but over the 20th century, the industry consolidated until today, only two corporations, Grupo Modelo and FEMSA control 90% of the Mexican beer market. This industry is one of the most prevalent in the country, with over 63% of the population buying one brand or another. Beer is also a major export for the country, with most going to the United States, but is available in over 150 countries in the world.