Outside those who have had their health affected, or that of a loved one, one entity that’s surely eager to see the coronavirus go away is Corona Beer.
Granted, the Chinese virus COVID-19 has impacted the lives of untold millions who have been hit with serious restrictions in the attempt to limit the spread of a disease that can be deadly, but the popular beer is taking it on the chin amid the pandemic.
New York-based Constellation Brands, which produces Corona, was left scrambling this week when Mexican citizens voted to block a Corona brewery from opening up near the U.S. border, according to the Daily Mail.
The plant is two-thirds built, yet the Mexican government has said it will not grant operating permits
“The federal government is going to get in touch with the company to seek out options for making up the damages,” said Assistance Interior Secretary Diana Alvarez.
In a weekend referendum in the Mexicali area, the government said that 76% voted against the plant, while 23% voted in favor.
There were reportedly about 36,781 votes cast, which was said to be less than 5% of eligible voters.
A coalition of opposition groups who claim the plant would have taken 20 billion liters of water out of an already over-exploited aquifer, celebrated the outcome as a “historic precedent in the defense of the right to water.”
Business groups denounced the vote as bad for investor confidence in Mexico and said the low turnout was likely due to concerns over coronavirus.
“A handful of people can’t decide investments of billions of dollars,” the Mexican Employers Federation said in a statement, according to the Daily Mail. “The results of the referendum are bad for the beer company and damaging to the country’s economy, but they will be even worse for the residents of Mexicali, who will see the jobs and development they had evaporate.”
The Mexican government is open to having the plant relocate within the country.
“We are going to seek out ways to make it easier for them (Constellation), if they want to, to put the plant somewhere else, in regions where there is water, ” Alvarez said.
As the coronavirus spread, there were social media posts early on suggesting people were opting not to drink Corona Beer, although Constellation countered to say that beer sales rose 5% over the four-week period ending February 16, Barron’s reported.
More from Barron’s:
The original news release from February 27 says 5W conducted phone surveys with 737 American beer drinkers. The survey made three claims. First, “38% of Americans wouldn’t buy Corona under any circumstances now.” Next, “Among those who said they usually drink Corona, only 4% said they would stop drinking Corona, but 14% said they wouldn’t order Corona in a public venue.” Finally, “16% of beer-drinking Americans were confused about whether Corona beer is related to the coronavirus.”
In one spin of the survey results, Corona beer retained 96% of its customers. Not bad. Wall Street analysts praised retail giant Costco Wholesale (COST) in Friday research reports for retaining 90.9% of its members in the U.S. and Canada over the past three months.
Still, the social media posts persist, even though there is absolutely no link whatsoever to COVID-19. Here are a few tweets this week suggesting people are leery of buying the brand.
I really thought it was fake news that people weren’t buying Corona beer. Then I saw this today… pic.twitter.com/8oDlOp2PgK
— Annunziata Rees-Mogg (@zatzi) March 21, 2020
Only Corona beer left…amazing… pic.twitter.com/7ZGePJKnZV
— Lord Ashcroft (@LordAshcroft) March 19, 2020
Then again, the attention is not all negative, as people being forced to stay at home look for things to do, a Corona Beer Challenge was one suggested activity:
— ウエスP(Wes-P／Mr Uekusa) BGT2018&AGT2018 (@uespiiiiii) March 20, 2020
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