Constellation Brands is a New York-based brewing company that produces beverages around the world. In 2016, it announced plans to build a state-of-the-art brewery in Mexicali, Mexico, to export its Mexican beer brands, including Corona and Modelo, to the US. Community leaders gushed about the 700-plus permanent jobs it would create, hailing the $1.5 billion project—expected to send 58 million cases of beer to the US in its first year—as evidence of the local economy’s vibrancy.
“Mexicali is growing like it never has in its history,” crowed Baja state’s economic development secretary, Carlo Bonfante, “and part of the reason is that Constellation Brands is coming to the city.”
Nearly four years later, the brewery is nearing completion—and under siege as a flashpoint in the increasingly contentious struggle between corporations and community groups over the fate of the world’s most-precious resource: water.