El Sol de Hermosillo January 3, 2023

Cervecería de Sonora, Factory that Revolutionized the Local Industry

Guillermo Saucedo The Sun of Hermosillo

More than 125 years ago, three Germans conceived the idea of founding a brewery in Hermosillo, which, in its glory years, had no competition at the national level.

In the surroundings of what is now the Plaza Bicentenario, in the Historic Center of Hermosillo, three Germans had the idea of founding a brewery in 1896, taking as an example those that worked in Europe and the United States.

The municipal chronicler of Hermosillo, Ignacio Lagarda Lagarda, said that Geo Grürinig, Alberto Hoeffer and Jacobo Schusley came from Bavaria to Sonora to revolutionize the nascent industry of the State, making a fruitful business with beer.

The first to arrive was Grürinig in 1896 and immediately became involved in the high political and trade spheres. He married an elegant and outstanding young lady, descendant of one of the main families of the city, Dolores Monteverde.

On September 22, 1897, the notary public Miguel A. López, attested to the foundation of the Cervecería de Sonora, S. A., with a capital of 60 thousand pesos duly exhibited and applied in the construction and adaptation of the factory building.

Construction and operation

In 1898 Dr. Alberto H. Hoeffer and Jacobo Schusley arrived and the trio appeared before the municipal treasurer Don Francisco Monteverde to process the necessary permits and start the construction of the building.

It was located in the block formed by the streets Guanajuato (Dr. Hoeffer), Tehuantepec, Comonfort and Morelos (Pedro Moreno). The person responsible for the work was the architect Plutarco Díaz and it was completed in 1904.

Lagarda Lagarda mentioned that Mr. Grürinig was a director of the brewery from its foundation until approximately 1911, and who gave it its first great impulse, leaving it totally in the hands of Dr. Hoeffer, whose family would continue to run the brewery years after his death.

All the necessary inputs for the elaboration of the amber liquid, malt and hops, were acquired in Europe and the United States, which would eventually give several honorable mentions to the beers "Münchener" and "Reina Blanca" in several international exhibitions.

In 1907, it was announced as follows:

"It is equipped with everything required by a modern and first-class brewery, mill, elevators, barley separator, the latest in improved machinery and cooling pipes, fermentation cellars, refrigeration areas, condensers, kettles, copper workshop, etc."

Work stoppage

Due to a lack of firewood in the region, the operation of the factory was in danger of being suspended, but Geo Grürinig was not far behind and his vision of the challenge of the future made him import stone coal and thus, the boilers that set the brewery in motion continued their course.

This was how Antón "El Conecas" Ackerman, Juan Schnierle and the master barrel maker Pano Alexoff joined this industry that became one of the most important in Sonora with its brands that would give it celebrity: "High Life" and "Centenario Negra", whose production was in 1905, 150 thousand cases per year, while ice production was 75 tons per day, and in 1908 it reached a whopping 110.

The chronicler affirmed that it was one of the main industries in the state during the first decades of the twentieth century, however, it ceased to operate through Decree Number 1 issued by Governor Plutarco Elías Calles, on August 8, 1915.

This document absolutely prohibited in Sonora the import, sale and manufacture of intoxicating drinks, but by 1922 the activities resumed, a fact that began a golden age that lasted until the mid-thirties, being closed again in 1935.

Fires and closure

Throughout his life he suffered several fires; The most serious took place in 1926, in which its high dome was consumed by flames and was never rebuilt. There were never any personal misfortunes to regret.

"In its highest part, the building had a large glass dome, which in 1915 the constitutionalist generals used as an observatory to, from there, spy on the movements of Francisco Villa's troops, who stalked the city camped in the lands surrounding the north. Adjacent to the dome, a large hall was located, as a reception room, where meetings and entertainment used to be held for distinguished visitors, "he said.

Next to that piece, there was another of smaller dimensions that Don Antonio Moreno, competent assistant of the "brewer" in charge, used as a laboratory, where he went from the early hours of the morning, to start his daily work.

With the brewing of its famous beers Reina Blanca, Maltina, Munchiner, Laguer, Águila, Centenario, High Life, bottle and barrel, Reina Blanca and Centenario, the brewery had no competition in the country.

On October 17, 1969, the Cervecería de Sonora was sold by the Hoeffer family to the Cervecería Cuauhtémoc de Monterrey.

"In 1980 the building was demolished and today its place is occupied by the Plaza Bicentenario.

Geo Grürinig, Alberto H. Hoeffer and Jacobo Schusley are the trio of people who, defying bad omens, managed to succeed with an industry that seemed utopian," he concluded.