A Fresno insurance broker, with roots in Mexico, is helping to pave the way for a Mexican craft beer in the U.S. market.
Jose Fontes, an insurance broker with Dibuduo & Defendis, is pulling double duty these days by also heading the sales and marketing effort for Ocho Reales, a craft beer from Monterrey, Mexico.
The Mexican craft beer can be found at The Market at Herndon and West avenues and at Fresno restaurants, Five and Pismo’s Coastal Grill. Other eateries will soon be added.
Fontes, whose brother-in-law is involved in the Mexican brewery, is excited to be part of the growing craft beer trend in the U.S. and Mexico.
“The market for craft beer is very strong and we have the ability to do something great with our beers,” Fontes says. “But this is not your traditional Mexican beer.”
Ocho Reales beer is brewed in four styles: pilsner, ale, porter and imperial ale. The beer matches up closely with the distinctive flavors of American craft beer, and is a departure from the lighter-bodied, Mexican-style lagers like Corona, Pacifico or El Sol.
Fontes says craft beer lovers will find the Mexican brews full-bodied, aromatic and with just a medium degree of bitterness.
And like its American counterparts, Mexican craft beer makers are nibbling away at the dominance of the industry’s major breweries. The craft beer industry in Mexico has enjoyed a 50 percent growth rate for the last 10 years. There are also more than 100 brands of craft beer in Mexico and its still growing.
Fontes says he has no doubt the new beer will do well. Already, the beer is starting to take off in Southern California and in Fresno, the only place it can be currently found in the San Joaquin Valley.
“We have received very good feedback from people,” Fontes says. “People love Mexican beer and we think they will love this one, too.”