MEXICO CITY – Craft brewer Error de diciembre is rolling out a new selection of beers with labels bearing unflattering cartoons of past Mexican presidents and of current US chief executive Donald Trump.
Brewery owner Fernando Rendon, brewmaster Isaac Aroche – a gold medalist at the World Beer Cup – and political cartoonist Antonio Helguera collaborated on the initiative, which is aimed at making fun of “the politicians as they did to us.”
The company’s name, Error de diciembre (December Mistake), refers to the month that marks the start of each Mexican president’s six-year term and, more specifically, to the economic and currency crisis of December 1994.
The labels and images on the bottles are meant “to be a reminder that the problems the country has have a name,” Helguera said.
“Mexico is always surrounded by misfortunes. We need to take them with humor and laugh a little at those who exploit them, drinking to their health,” the award-winning cartoonist for La Jornada newspaper and Proceso magazine said with a touch of sarcasm.
With many Mexicans disconnected from their country’s history, the labels represent “a good way to transmit a critical message,” Helguera said.
The first of the presidential beers, Carlitos, spotlights Carlos Salinas de Gortari, who governed from 1988 to 1994, and is described by Rendon as “the politician most emblematic of the evil that is the Mexican political system.”
Salinas, the brewery owner added, was an “evildoer par excellence, a corrupt person who didn’t know how to run the country and sold us smoke.”
“We believed that Gustavo Diaz Ordaz (president from 1964-1970) deserved to be next for the 1968 student massacre,” Rendon said, recounting the creation of the Tlatelolco beer, named for the Mexico City plaza where protesters were gunned down as Mexico prepared to host the Olympics.
Another in the series is the Calderona, a 15-percent alcohol beer with a skull on the label inspired by the 2006-2012 term of Felipe Calderon, whose militarized war on drugs led to more than 100,000 deaths in six years.
Error de diciembre teamed up with another craft brewery, Cru Cru, to create Amigous, with a label depicting Trump dressed as a mariachi musician.
The team is already preparing to mark the final day of incumbent Enrique Peña Nieto’s administration, Nov. 30, 2018, with the release of several new beer, as “one wouldn’t be enough to remember all of his mistakes,” Helguera said.