Chase to the bottom
Mad Max tells us about the Cerulean Knight: Dorada Ice, Ice Baby
Well, it’s that time again. The Friday night shenanigans, evening chats, dance movements, and (Lord have mercy) contests involving a ping-pong ball have taken their toll. We all touch noses, eyes racing back and forth. Returning from the bathroom (as you do), the queue is missed. It’s your turn to retrieve more beer.
You collect a meager sum, are told by a tall energetic Australian to “Get the most brew for your Q,” and head for the closest tienda. Once inside, you struggle with the plastic sliding door for a second before realizing it’s actually on hinges. It opens and you slow your breathing, mulling over the options.
The Australian’s voice echoes in your head. Front and center, the pride of Guatemala, Gallo, stares at you with its beady rooster eye for Q10 a tallboy: decidedly too expensive. To its left, Cabro, a tastier Xela favorite for Q25 a liter, dances out of your price range like a winged monkey prince. You sense something to your right and try not to look. It’s Brahva, the cheapest beer in Xela, sold to some for Q5 a tallboy, and currently littering your living room floor. You grumble with indecision.
But what’s this? A blue light shines from below. You tilt your gaze and there it is in all its shimmering metallic azure: Dorada ICE. You grab a can and roll the thermo-packaging in your palm. Why is this here? What does it mean?
Pause scene. Let me elaborate: Dorada ICE is the youngest of the aforementioned Guatemalan made beers and the second cheapest you can find in Xela at Q6 a tallboy. The fateful reality of Dorada ICE, however, is the part it plays in a war between hopeful monopolies.
As is clear, Brahva is the anti-Gallo. Selling at the lowest price point, AmBev aspired to weaken Cervecería Centroamericana’s golden cock, break the national monopoly, and buy out the market. Despite Brah- va’s known propensity to make Guate- malans physically ill, the strategy worked enough to inspire retaliation of kind. And thus, from the depths of an underground laboratory, sprang forth Dorada ICE, the cerulean knight, the anti-Brahva.
Distributed since the early 2000’s, Dorada ICE is really the result of Cervecería Centroamericana studies identifying youth as the primary cheap cerveza consumers. It got a modern look, empha- sized innovation through varied flavors, and displayed beaches filled with dub-step and hot young Dorada ICE drink- ers in commercials. Globalized “icing” methods of freezing production batch and extracting ethanol-concentrated ice crystals even made it more alcoholic than its competitor. The dawn seemed to glimmer on a new age.
But around 2012, Brahva sank deeper into its cave, halving its price in a few years. The dedicated azul savior dismounted its horse and breached the darkness in hot pursuit. And this is where they now find themselves, spiraling further and further down, locked in a perpetual battle for Guatemala’s young and poor.
Play scene. You consider all this and decide to return the glowing can. You buy the Brahva, say your goodbyes, and re- turn to the party laden with drink. You hear it again: “Most brew for your Q.” Everyone applauds.