Cinco de Mayo… the beer industry’s favorite holiday in the states

Cinco de Mayo JMay 5, 1862.

It’s a day that will live in infamy. For the beer industry.

Many of us here in the states know the day by its more popular name, Cinco de Mayo. And almost as many people who recognize the name also consider it to be the Mexican equivalent of our Fourth of July, or Independence Day. Except it’s not, not even close.

Cinco de Mayo, or really, May 5, 1862, simply commemorates a battle in Puebla between the French and Mexican forces when allied forces from Europe attacked to collect a debt they believed Mexico owed them. On that day, the Mexican Army, under the leadership of Generals Ignacio Zaragoza and Porforio Diaz, and vastly outnumbered, routed the French Army.

Many of my friends in Mexico who are not familiar with life in the states are stunned when I describe to them how Americans jam Mexican restaurants over the first weekend in May. They are even more surprised when I explain how some breweries seem to be de-facto national sponsors of the celebrations connected with Cinco de Mayo. There are even reports that this is now the biggest beer consumption day in the US, surpassing St Patrick’s Day and Super Bowl Sunday. In Mexico though, outside the state of Puebla, the date is hardly even commemorated.

Want more info? Check these out and if you are interested in a great tour of Puebla next time you’re there, contact our friend Soy Poblana… 

Wikipedia on Cinco de Mayo, A nice overview from Go Mexico, Good stuff from Encyclopedia Britannica

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4 replies

  1. Hi Dave!

    There was/is a slight US connection, as Napoleon III had his eye on the US as a potential next militaristic move to quash power that we as a nation had been gathering. Some view Mexico’s defeat of the French at the Battle of Puebla a move also to assist the US in this matter. The only place Cinco de Mayo is celebrated in Mexico is Puebla. The beer companies and Hallmark have been the biggest perpetrators of promoting made-up holidays in history, and play upon and perpetuate a lot of stereotypes regarding the culture (I’m looking at YOU giant sombrero, nachos and Budweiser & Clamato!).

    Take care, Dave, and keep up the great reporting!
    Scott

    • Scott… let’s not forget the newest holiday fad… Facebook Days… incredible… I was stunned to see the beer stats and that this “holiday” sells more beer than the Super Bowl. My friends in Mexico are always amazed when I tell them how today is celebrated here and it gets nary a mention down south…

  2. And being that no one here knows what the day really signifies, you’ll surely never hear that the French came back in 1866 and successfully took the city. Nor that the US Army had held the city in the mid 1800’s.

    • All true Denny… Hard to believe that US troops occupied so much of Mexico and gave it back… some of my friends there call that a true miracle…

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