I was strolling down the booze aisle at Cost World Plus in SanTana when I came across the following package. At first, I thought it was one of the store's many cheesy Halloween gag gifts, something more appropriate to Spencer's than a merchant with a surprisingly robust selection of ethnic sweets, treats, and booze. But upon closer inspection, it was a real thing.
OY VEY. While Día de los Muertos (“Day of the Dead” for those of you who don't habla) is increasing in popularity across the United States, the tradition is also increasingly being co-opted by corporations looking not so much to appeal to Mexicans but to grab hipster dollars that think anything Día de los Muertos is cool for reasons Mexicans have never quite understood. The Día de los Muertos fad has riled many a Chicano, and as I stood there fuming, I went through the Kübler-Ross model–better known as the five stages of grief popularized through American pop psychology–right then and there. Yes: I'm a pendejo.
As I said earlier, I first thought it was a joke. In Mexico, Day of the Dead is not a drinking holiday. Sure, lot of altars might have a bottle of tequila or mezcal to honor the dead–but it's for them, not for the living. But upon inspecting the packages, with its sexualized dead people (ew…) and colorful font around IPAs and other styles of beer, I realized it was real.
Why, beer company: WHY? Hipsters already have more than enough beers–why cheapen Día de los Muertos by hawking your cerveza with its name? Who do you think you are–Disney?
FUCKING DUMB-ASS HIPSTERS! Do they hold nothing sacred? They're already invading public Día de los Muertos events dressed in Halloween costumes, even though Day of the Dead ain't Halloween. And they're starting to appropriate Día de los Muertos motifs for EVERYTHING–albums, clothing, fashion, films, club nights. FUCKING DUMB-ASS HIPSTERS!
Then again, maybe Dia de los Muertos beer is a good thing. Any publicity is good publicity for Day of the Dead, right? Kind of how like I make excuses for Taco Bell and Chipotle for serving as scouts to whet the appetites of gabachos before they learn about better dishes to come once Mexicans reach their area of the country? So hipster Day of the Dead beer will similarly turn on Americans to better Mexican beers, thereby making us more accepted in this country? Right? Right? Yeah, right…
Sigh…having such things as Día de los Muertos beer only further cheapens Mexican culture, which makes it harder for Americans to accept Mexis as part of this country, keeping us as perpetual playthings (see: Cinco de Mayo, tequila, the Most Interesting Man in the World). Day of the Dead beer is proof that the work of Mexican writers and activists to keep Día de los Muertos a sacred holiday free of usurping is not only not happening, but was doomed from the start. Sigh…
So, yes: Dia de los Muertos beer is a real beer, and I guess the only good thing about this is that it's a Mexican brewery that is making the beer: Cervercía Mexicana, located in Tecate. And that is what finally made me accept the reality of the beer. I didn't buy a case–don't drink the nectar of nitwits, you know? But I do know that a lot of nitwits will buy this beer, good or not, which means at least some Mexicans will get rich off Mexican alcohol–and the beat goes on…