By Henrietta Weekes
The first part of this story was published in the June 8 issue. The author interviewed Rodrigo Moncada, founder and CEO of Cervecería Allende. If you want to read the complete story, please visit: https://www.atencionsma.com/en/lifestyle/drink/revolutionary-beer-from-the-cradle-of-independence/
HW: OK, so this is different; there’s nothing like this in town. Tell me more about the Cerveceria.
RM: I’m originally from Mexico City, but I’d been coming to San Miguel since I was a kid. It had a strong pull for me, a special “sparkle,” and it’s the ideal location for our business, given its diverse demographics. San Miguel attracts really creative and driven entrepreneurs. Unlike Mexico City, everyone knows everyone here. I feel like a proud San Miguelense now, and I wanted our brand to put San Miguel on the map with a first-class craft beer, making the locals proud too. All our production happens here; our brewery team is like family. You’ll find us in Sam’s, City Market, L’Europa, and Soriana. We’re the second biggest craft beer in Mexico, after Minerva in Guadalajara, and that’s something for San Miguel to be proud of. The tap room was important for me. I want people to celebrate the process of a local success story and feel a part of that.
HW: Locals enjoy a 15% discount on all beers. That’s how much you applaud San Miguel and the spirit of community.
RM: Yes, we wanted to put San Miguel all around Mexico; we want it to be number one. It has so much to offer, yet we don’t even have a football team! But we can have the number one beer. We’ve won multiple awards and have had a lot of high-profile press: Esquire, Reforma, National Geographic, El Universal. We display these articles in the tap room, so again, people can really get the sense of how our beer is moving in the world. It’s become popular in a relatively short time. People are into beer as much as any of the other trending alcoholic drinks, like wine or mezcal. Actually, there’s a story about that …
HW: Do tell. I love your dedication to highlighting San Miguel.
RM: My partners and I started out with a rum and mezcal company. That’s how I learned real business strategy and all about distribution channels. On a work trip to New York City, I met the founder of the Brooklyn Brewery, a fantastic guy, who saw a niche and then popularized the current craft beer/microbrewery movement. On the plane back home, I said to my friend, “We need to do beer! We can get to more people.” We needed to choose the right “forever place” and create our own distinct story, along with the dedication that goes into every step of the brewing process, the sales, and the staffing—like I said, a family endeavor. I just dove in and began by taking beer-making classes.
HW: And finally, whet our appetites with a few notes about what’s on draft at Cerveceria Allende.
RM: We’re really proud of our I.P.A (India Pale Ale), and it’s popular in New York and the UK. It’s made with a lot of hops, and ours are seasoned with notes of Mexican fruits and seeds, like the coriander. It’s a true original. I’ve had Brits tell me our brown ale is “up there,” and that’s saying something, since they’ve been brewing that for a long time. We’ve got a light lager, a richer, darker lager, and a golden ale, which is a more mellow version of the brown ale.
People love the porter, a really rich dark ale, almost like a Guinness, which is our seasonal winter beer. And we’re always bringing out new samples to test what people are liking, and why. Our agave beer, for example, is pretty exotic. I’d recommend that to any visitor.
HW: We’re excited that you’re constantly inventing new brews!
RM: Gracias, yes, our new brewmaster Carlos and his team—who learned from Ivan, our original genius brewmaster, the consummate flavor perfectionist who taught us all we know— are a bit like alchemists. There’s always a new brew, a new flavor, on the horizon. And the most important thing is to keep abreast of our customers’ tastes and preferences. This informs the entire business for us, keeping it in the wider San Miguel family.
Cerveceria Allende is located on Ancha de San Antonio, Zona Centro, 37700 San Miguel de Allende, and is open Monday through Thursday from 1pm to 11pm, Friday and Saturday from 1pm to 1am, and Sunday from 11am to 9pm.