Grupo Modelo S.A.B. de C.V. has been making lots of headlines lately. Some not so great. We’ve been talking a lot about its litigation with the U.S. Department of Justice, which is seeking to restructure its merger with Anheuser-Busch InBev. Now, the company is facing even worse press as reports are coming out about seven workers that died this past Sunday at the Grupo Modelo brewery. The workers were allegedly cleaning out tanks at the company’s large brewing facility in Mexico City. Grupo Modelo is a Mexican beer conglomerate, home to famous American imports like Corona and Pacifico.
Reports say that the seven workers were performing maintenance and general cleaning inside one of the tanks. No official explanation has been provided for the cause of death, but according to Mexican newspaper Milenio, the deaths were the result of inhaling toxic fumes. Examiner.com had this to say:
Grupo Modelo spokeperson Jennifer Shelley said the deaths occurred in “a confined area of a tank in which cleaning and maintenance work was being done.” Shelley went on to say that there are no further risks to the surrounding neighborhood or the personnel who work at the plant. Grupo Modelo has notified authorities of the accident and has started its own investigation. Day to day operations at the brewery are not expected to be affected by the accident.
Grupo Modelo’s Mexico City plant was the first one built by Modelo and has been in operation since 1925. Based on 2011 statistics supplied by Modelo, it has a capacity of about 11.1 million hectoliters, or nearly 9.5 million barrels. It is the largest of all Modelo’s plants and is responsible for about 16 percent of the company’s annual production. The official cause of the accident is pending investigation and should be released soon.
There is no mention of the incident on the Grupo Modelo website, but we’ll keep you updated. In view of the tragedy, this is a good time to review safety procedures and protocols in your craft brewery, especially with maintenance and cleaning personnel.