Who Really Owns Modelo?

NEW YORK, NY - OCTOBER 14: Modelo serves beer to patrons during the Food Network & Co
Photo by Kris Connor/Getty Images for NYCWFF

Modelo Especial overtook Bud Light as the top-selling beer in the U.S. in May as Bud Light sales were crushed by a boycott over the brand’s relationship with transgender influencer Dylan Mulvaney.

But who owns Modelo Especial? Many of those supporting the boycott have voiced concerns that the Mexican beer brand might be owned Anheuser-Busch, the company that makes Bud Light and is part of an international conglomerate called AB InvBev.

Fortunately for Americans pushing back against Bud Light’s transgender influencer ties, Modelo Especial is not owned by Anheuser-Busch and sales of the Mexican brand here in the U.S. do not wind up in the coffers of AB InBev. Modelo Especial sold in the U.S. is a product of a different company called Constellation Brands that has its roots in upstate New York.

The confusion stems from the fact that Anheuser-Busch purchased a company called the Groupo Modelo back in 2013 in a transaction valued at $20.1 billion. U.S. antitrust regulators, however, required Anheuser-Busch to sell the U.S. rights to Modelo, Pacifico, and Corona to win approval for the deal. Constellation was the buyer and the acquisition included an advanced brewery in Mexico as well as the glass production plant used to bottle the beer.

Anheuser-Bush still owns the rights to Modelo outside of the U.S. But U.S. sales benefit Constellation and not Anheauser-Busch.

AB InBev owns dozens of beer and beverage brands, including the various Budweiser brands, Blue Point, Michelob, Busch, Natural Light, Shock Top, and Stella Artois.

The two companies have been at odds recently in U.S. courts. In 2021, Anheuser-Bush filed a lawsuit in the U.S. District Court of the Southern District of New York Tuesday over Constellation’s launch of two Modelo beers, alleging that a “bourbon” branded beer violated their agreement to sell “Mexican-style beer” and a tequila branded beer violated Mexican legal restricitons on the use of the word tequila. Earlier that year, Anheuser-Bush sued the company over a Corona-branded hard seltzer, which the Bud Light maker said overstepped Constellation’s rights to use the brand to sell beer.

In short, Americans seeking to conscientiously boycott Bud Light and other Anheuser-Bush products can purchase Modelo Especial in good conscience.




Please let us know if you're having issues with commenting.