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Rick Bayless To Introduce A New Beer, But Not Everyone Is Happy

By Anthony Todd in Food on Mar 5, 2013 4:20PM

Rick Bayless is already involved with branding chips, salsa, restaurants, TV shows and cookbooks. Perhaps a beer was the natural next step. Crains reported yesterday that Bayless has teamed up with Crown Imports, the company that distributes Corona and Negra Modelo in the U.S. to create a special craft beer with a Latin flair.

Bayless has collaborated on beers before, and Marisol, his Goose Island collaboration brew, is served at Frontera Grill. This new venture promises to be on a much larger scale, as ownership and distribution deals transfer between giant Anheuser-Busch InBev (which is planning to acquire the company that brews Corona) and Crown. At first, the beer will be distributed locally, but we may see Bayless's face on beer bottles all over America soon.

The craft beer is in the early stages of development. It will be owned by Crown, which plans to distribute it regionally, although the footprint could grow. The brand is still nameless and the style has not been determined. But it seems all but certain that Mr. Bayless will give it a south-of-the-border feel. "We are going to use Rick and all his expertise with Latin flavors and Mexican flavors and spice. He's very into beer," Crown Chief Marketing Officer Jim Sabia told Crain's sister publication Advertising Age. "We will have our own brewers, but he is going to be actively involved in the recipe and style. He's going to be our master brewer."

Some locals aren't happy with Bayless's decision to go national. South Loop Brewing tweeted a rebuke to Bayless yesterday. "Shame on you, @Rick_Bayless. I can think of no fewer than a dozen real craft brewers in Chicago that you should be doing this with instead."