If you’re picturing an idyllic beach scene wherein your toes are nestled in the warm sand, and there’s a smattering of surfers riding the cerulean waves in front of you, the image would be wholly incomplete without a Pacífico somewhere in the mix. The Mexican pilsner-style lager is a staple of the tropics, as evidenced by its bright sunshine-hued can.
The popular beer’s full name is “Cerveza Pacífico Clara” which indicates that it’s clear — Pacífico is known for its light, crisp taste (with just a hint of bitterness) that’s meant to refresh. While the brew itself might not be rich, it’s history sure is. Here are eight things you should know about Pacífico.
It’s over a century old.
Pacífico’s a centenarian. In fact, it was first made at the turn of the 20th century, in 1900. It’s around the same age (by a margin of a few years) as many other popular Mexican beers in the United States, such as Dos Equis and Sol.
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It was founded in Mexico… by Germans.
It’s strange to think that a beer so emblematic of Mexico wasn’t created by native Mexicans, but that’s the case with this golden lager. At the end of the 19th century, there was a large influx of German immigrants in Mexico. The original brew was created by three Germans who settled in Mazatlán: Jorge Claussen, German Evers, and Emilio Phillipy. Not much else is known about the three amigos, but the beer was quickly adopted by the locals.
It became popular 70-odd years after its creation.
Though it was created at the turn of the century, Pacífico only became commonplace in the U.S. in the 1970s. This is partially due to Prohibition, which helped the Mexican beer market thrive in the first place, with alcohol trade flourishing in border cities. During the beginning of Prohibition in the U.S., the Mexican beer industry began to consolidate into two big companies: Grupo Modelo and Cervecería Cuauhtémoc-Moctezuma. Pacífico was acquired by Grupo Modelo in 1954, but its international recognition was actually due to a small community’s affinity for it.
It was popularized by a group of surfers.
In the 1970s, a group of Californian surfers traveled down to Mexico’s remote Baja Peninsula to catch some waves. They were introduced to Pacífico in the local cantinas, and they liked it so much that they stockpiled it and brought it back to the states. Loading up their vans with cases before returning over the border became a ritual of sorts for many surfers, and drove up demand for the beer tremendously.
Pacífico knows its fanbase — it even made its slogan in their honor.
In response to its climbing demand in America, Pacífico decided to pay homage to those who helped get the word out. In 1985, the brand changed its slogan to “Pacífico Beer, Discovered in Baja, Imported by Surfers.” Even today, its website embraces the surfer aesthetic.
The name ‘Pacífico’ comes from its place on the map.
The OG Pacífico brewery, Cervecería del Pacífico, is seated on the coast of the Pacific Ocean, and it’s still in operation. Each bottle reads: “La Cerveza del Pacífico,” or “The Beer of the Pacific.” The labels are adorned with a graphic of an anchor in the ocean, framed by a lifesaver.
You can tour the original Pacífico brewery.
If you’re ever in Mazatlán, you can schedule a tour of Cervecería del Pacífico and see where it all began.
In its city of origin, there’s a special name for large Pacífico bottles.
You might hear the locals referring to the 32-ounce Pacífico bottles as ballenas, which means “whales.” We’ll take a big one, please.