7 Die in Brewery: Grupo Modelo Hit by Tragedy in Mexico City

Image: 7 Die in Brewery: Grupo Modelo Hit by Tragedy in Mexico City The mother of Rafael Sandoval, one of the seven workers who died in an accident at a brewery, mourns outside the building of Corona beermaker Grupo Modelo in Mexico City, April 7, 2013.

Monday, 08 Apr 2013 08:10 AM

By Michael Mullins

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Seven workers died early Sunday morning while cleaning a tank inside Mexico City's Grupo Modelo brewery.

The incident is being investigated by authorities, which have yet to determine the cause of death.

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The victims were reportedly maintenance workers who became trapped inside the cistern, plant manager Francisco Lopez Bravo told reporters.

Investigators are looking into whether or not the workers died from inhaling toxic fumes reports the Associated Press.

Reacting to the tragic incident, the Mexican brewing company released a statement Sunday that read in part, "Modelo is deeply sorry for this incident and will support the affected families permanently."

The Mexico City plant, one of six such facilities Grupo Modelo operates in the country, began operation in 1925. It is reportedly responsible for 16 percent of Grupo Modelo's total production. In 2011, it generated more than 293,230,000 gallons of beer.

In addition to producing Corona, the Mexican brewing company produces and distributes 12 other beers including Modelo Especial, Pacifico, and Victoria as well as China's Tsingtao and Denmark's Carlsberg.

It is responsible for more than 60 percent of the Mexican beer market and operates a chain of about 960 convenience stores, according to Hoovers.com.

Belgium's Anheuser-Busch InBev presently owns 50 percent of Grupo Modelo.

In 2012, the Mexican brewing company announced that it plans to sell the remaining 50 percent to Anheuser-Busch for a price tag of $20.1 billion.

On Jan. 31, the take-over was blocked by President Barack Obama's administration over antitrust concerns, fearing such a deal would give Anheuser-Busch too much control over the American beer market, potentially reducing choice while raising prices, The New York Times reported.

"As we have said all along, any settlement would have to fully protect US consumers by preserving the competition that Grupo Modelo currently provides, while giving a divestiture buyer the freedom and capability to compete vigorously," the Department of Justice said in a statement reported by the Financial Times last week.

Anheuser-Busch, which produces Budweiser and Stella Artois among other beers, announced on Friday that an agreement had been reached in principle to win government approval for its $20.1 billion deal.

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