With an investment of 500 million, after 25 years, Heineken inaugurated its 70-hectares brewery in Meoqui, Chihuahua. The inauguration was in charge of the director of Heineken México, Dolf van den Brink; CEO Heineken NV, Jean Francois van Boxmeer; Sergio Rodríguez, vice president of operations, secretary of Economy, Ildefonso Guajardo; the governor of the state, Javier Corral; the mayor of Meoqui, Ismael Pérez; and the director of the Meoqui plant, Eusebio Reynoso.

This new plant is the seventh plant of this type in Mexico from Cuauhtémoc Moctezuma-Heineken group. The other six are located in Toluca, Orizaba, Guadalajara, Tecate, Navojoa and Monterrey.

The expected production of the brewery is 600 million liters per year. It will have six packaging lines, four for bottles, one for cans and six for barrels. The can line can pack up to 120 thousand cans per hour; the bottle lines will be able to pack 39 thousand bottles per hour in returnable and non-returnable presentations. The barrel line will have a packing capacity of 300 barrels per hour.

According to the directors of Heineken, the Cervecería Meoqui will be the most avant-garde of the plants in the country, due to its commitment to respect the environment. Jean-François van Boxmeer, executive director, explained that the complex will seek to make the most of the state's natural resources to leave a minimal footprint in the environment. An example of this is the amount of water that will be used to produce beer: instead of three liters of water, which is the number of liters that other world-class brewers use to produce a liter of beer, this plant will only require only two. This amount implies a 30% saving in water consumption.

Another example of commitment to the environment is the use of solar energy: the buildings of the complex will have photovoltaic glass. In this way, the plant will take advantage of the thermal energy produced by the VICHISA bottling plant, from the CROWN group, located on one side of the plant. The production of bottles will not be the responsibility of the brewing group, but by FEMSA.

The brewery will also have a wastewater treatment plant, which will allow treated water to be reused for the purpose of cleaning the facilities and irrigating green spaces.

In the event, the vice president of operations, Sergio Rodriguez, said that the company chose the state of Chihuahua for the advantages of its geographical location, water quality, legal facilities, as well as labor. Rodriguez noted that 90 percent of the employees are from Meoqui, Delicias and Chihuahua, and that a large part of the human resource is made up of women: in quality, 50% of the staff are women; in administration, 40% and in high positions 30%. "We are very proud because when we compare ourselves with the rest of our breweries in Mexico we see in Meoqui a great talent that is feminine", he explained.

The new complex generates 300 direct and 1,500 indirect jobs. All the beer brands of the Cuauhtémoc Moctezuma-Heineken group will be developed there, not only for national but for international consumption as well, mainly the United States.

Challenges and commitments

In an exclusive interview, Eusebio Reynoso, the director of the plant, commented that there were two previous attempts to build the brewery on the land where it is now located, but external economic factors, such as the crisis of 1994 and the recession in 2008, paused the buildings. However, the project was completed.

Two particular challenges for the plant are the production and use of water. One of the current challenges is to achieve the expected annual production, since 90% of the employees of the plant are new and need to absorb the Heineken work philosophy. The director explained that this is in regions where the quantity of the liquid is critical. However, water is vital for the company, so Heineken assumed its commitment.

Finally, another commitment of the plant is to support the community of Meoqui and surrounding municipalities, through reforestation activities and parks, depending on the needs they see in the environment.