El Chapo Beer, a craft beer inspired by the infamous Sinaloa Cartel kingpin
A bust of Mexican kingpin Joaquín "El Chapo" Guzmán stands between bottles of "El Chapo" beer – Photo: Fernando Carranza /REUTERS

El Chapo Beer, a craft beer inspired by the infamous Sinaloa Cartel kingpin

Newsroom & Agencies
Mexico City
José Luis Osorio, Stefanie Eschenbacher, Dave Graham & Christian Schmollinger/REUTERS & Miranda Perea/EL UNIVERSAL in English
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The beer is part of the “El Chapo 701” brand, which has already launched a clothing and accessories line

“Have a cold one, have an ‘El Chapo’ beer.” That’s the message of Alejandrina Guzmán, whose company has developed a craft beer dedicated to her infamous, incarcerated kingpin father Joaquín “El Chapo” Guzmán.

The beer is part of the “El Chapo 701” brand, which has already launched a clothing line and gets its name from when Forbes named him the 701st richest person in the world in 2009. Forbes estimated his net worth at USD $1 billion at the time.

Have you heard of narcoculture as a business?

“This is an artisanal beer, with 4% alcohol. This prototype is a lager, and it’s made up of malt, rice, and honey, so it’s good,” said Adriana Ituarte, a salesperson for the brand. “And the idea is for it to be sold at bars that stock craft beer.”

A 355 ml bottle is due to be priced at MXN $70.10.

“El Chapo”, who shipped narcotics around the world and escaped two maximum-security prisons before his final capture, was extradited to the United States in 2017 and found guilty in a U.S. court last year on a host of drug trafficking charges.

He was sentenced to life in prison.

In recent years, there has been wide interest from the public in narcoculture. Mexican drug cartels have become increasingly powerful, often living a life full of luxury, vice, and excess usually portrayed in popular series and films. However, this glamourizing depiction contributes to idealize a lifestyle embedded on violence and even to make an apology for crime for the sake of business.

Have you heard of the Sinaloa Cartel's macabre plan?

Thanks to the boom of narcoculture, drug lords like Rafael Caro Quintero, Joaquín “El Chapo” Guzmán Loera, Ernesto Fonseca Carrillo “Don Neto,” Miguel Ángel Félix Gallardo, and Colombian Pablo Emilio Escobar Gaviria now share something else than their drug trafficking organizations.

Drug lords, or their relatives, have been trying to register their names, nicknames, faces, signatures, and even their fingerprints as trademarks on Mexico’s Institute of Industrial Property (IMPI).

Individuals have also tried to obtain exclusivity rights of the word “narcos,” the name of the crime groups “Los Zetas,” nicknames like “The Lord of the Skies,” “The Queen of the Pacific,” and “The Queen of the South;” fiction characters like Teresa Mendoza, the Mexican, and even Jesús Malverde’s image and name, who is known as the saint patron of drug traffickers, so as to use them as denominations and logos of products that range from alcoholic drinks, religious accessories, and films to clothing and jewelry.

In the last decade, the registry of names and other particular features of drug lords has been a trend since their activities in the crime world have made them stand out as the main characters of series, films, and telenovelas, as well as their images being an inspiration for fashion.

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Emma Coronel Aispuro, the wife of drug lord Joaquín “El Chapo” Guzmán, launched a line of clothing inspired on the infamous kingpin of the Sinaloa Cartel and, taking advantage of narcoculture as a business, she also participated in VH1’s reality show Cartel Crew.

The former beauty queen appeared for the first time in the show on November 18, along with Kat “Tatu Baby,” Marie Ramírez D’Arellano, and Michael Blanco. The reality show talks about the lifestyle of relatives of members of different drug cartels.

As harmless as they could seem, series and films inspired on drug cartels have a great influence on spectators. It is not rare to listen to young people yearn for the money, power, fame, and women that allegedly come with the narco life. Aside from drug lords convincing communities of their good intentions who in turn hail them as modern Robin Hoods, this kind of entertainment overlooks all the grueling acts of drug traffickers, at the same time they exploit violent images to attract the audience, by turning them into heroes.

Did you know El Chapo is hailed as a modern Robin Hood in Mexico?

Besides being an apology for crime, drug series promote an unfair image of the countries dealing with drug trafficking. In the case of Mexico, Foreign Affairs Minister Marcelo Ebrard said, “Today, the image of Mexico seen in all the world are drug series, as other ministers and representatives have told me, and that is unfair to our country.” Although Mexico is currently living a challenging situation regarding drug trafficking, gang clashes, and the rise of new drug cartels, it is important not to reduce the whole country to this.

However, it is not a matter of censoring this kind of content and products but to generate awareness about the construction of the stories and objects spectators are being offered. The audience must realize that, in the end, all the stories, images, and products included in narcoculture they consume are designed to be attractive in order to sell. Narcoculture as a business is harvesting a seed that was already planted in the interest of the public, but all things considered, people are also responsible for furthering the glorification of the drug world.

Have you heard drug series are an apology for crime?


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