Barley and beer are intertwined. And in recent years, more barley is grown for use in the brewing industry than for feed or human food. In Montana, barley growers have long had a solid trading relationship with Mexican brewers. Recently, that relationship was reaffirmed.
Montana Gov. Steve Bullock sat down with executives of the Mexican Craft Brewers Association (the group uses Acermex as an acronym for its name in Spanish) to sign a memorandum of understanding to promote continued collaboration between the group and the state’s barley growers.
Bullock noted that Mexico is the largest importer of U.S. malt, and that industry groups estimate nearly 70% of those imports are raised in Montana. “Now, more than ever, it is important that we nurture and enhance these trade relationships to ensure our producers maintain and grow their access to foreign markets.”
The memorandum affirms a growing trade relationship. It also includes a personal invitation from Bullock for the group and its members to visit Montana for a trade mission, to see the quality of Montana barley in-person, and to meet and visit with Montana barley growers. The memorandum encourages the group to explore new procurement opportunities within Montana that will allow the state and Acermex to build mutually beneficial connections and relationships.
Ryan LeGrand, director of the U.S. Grains Council-Mexico, said, “Barley represents the true spirit of free trade with Mexico and has been one of the best success stories to come from the 24 years of free trade we have enjoyed with our neighbors to the south.” He noted that the cross-border shipments are free of duties, and ultimately benefit consumers with lower prices.
Acermex was formed in 2008 by seven craft brewers who saw the need to organize as an industry chamber to defend the craft beer category and to improve conditions of the country’s brewing industry. To date, Acermex has 120 independent brewers around the country.
Source: Montana Department of Agriculture