Rick Bayless to Brew Beer (And a Little Controversy)

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As Crain's reported yesterday, Rick Bayless announced that he would create a Latin-flavored beer for Crown Imports, distributor of Corona and Negro Modelo. The beer will be distributed regionally at first, but may go national later, as the company that makes Corona is absorbed by Anheuser-Busch InBev. Bayless has brewed with local brewers in the past such as Goose Island, but this is his first beer partnership with one of the big boys. Chicagoist reports that some local brewers are upset about this, saying Bayless should have worked with the little guys in town, not A-B, but clearly this is working on a level of megabranding that's far beyond a chef-microbrew collaboration, and it will undoubtedly raise the awareness of Latin-spiced brews, which may even benefit the obvious competitor 5 Rabbit Cerveceria, the nation's first Latin-owned brewery.