Victoria Beer: Mexico's Best-Kept Secret Debuts

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Victoria beer, touted as "Mexico's best-kept secret," makes it debut in Texas today, months after its first stateside release in Chicago. While publicists call its Illinois launch "successful," Chicago brewhounds are slightly less enthusiastic.

"I hadn't heard of Victoria beer before your mention of it," the Chicago Beer Society's president Glenn Rice e-mailed in response to my inquiry about its reception. "Maybe it is a well-kept secret in Chicago as well."

So perhaps Victoria hasn't yet cracked the beer aficionado market. But it's immensely popular with immigrants from Mexico, where the beer's been sold since 1865. Described as "a Vienna-style lager beer that combines a unique copper color with a perfectly balanced taste and a smooth, crisp finish," Victoria was available only on the black market until this year.

"Sometimes Mexican groceries have a few bottles stashed away and sell them at exorbitant prices when someone has a birthday etc.," a poster on Chowhound's Outer Boroughs board wrote in a 2009 comment. "It is good beer."

According to a press release, Victoria will be sold in Dallas "at select on- and off-premise retail accounts targeted to both Hispanic and General Market beer consumers." A "Find Victoria" website has not yet been updated to include Texas locations, but the company's sure fans will track down the brew.

"We believe the authentic history combined with Victoria's distinct flavor will drive long-term appeal and position us for instant success," a release quotes Bill Hackett, president of Crown Imports, Texas, as saying.

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