Medalla Beer, From Missed Opportunity to Promoting Vandalism

Medalla Light Cobblestone

For me Old San Juan has always been an escape to walk on the streets that our ancestors built while living in the present. When you visit Old San Juan, the images of cobblestone streets gets imprinted in the minds of those that and it could be a great memory to take back home to those who have never visited the island.

That said I wish I could say I was shocked by the poor decision Medalla Light beer made by choosing a sad situation where Old San Juan’s streets were vandalized to grab some attention to their brand.

A Quick Recap

This past weekend as the San Sebastian Festival took place in Old San Juan, hundreds of thousands drank and partied; some used the excuse that the event has cultural value.

Initially the theme of the festival was aligned towards promoting culture but over the years greed took over. Companies and individuals who benefit from this event are tied to liquor and beer sales. The festival in my opinion is about being loud, getting crazy, and according to Medalla leaving your footprint behind by vandalizing.

No Longer a Fan of the Festival

The past year and half I have gotten closer to some of the merchants of Old San Juan. Some are neighbors and close friends and I know the struggles they have in the maintenance of architectural history under strict standards while trying to run a business in one of the least small business friendly places in the world, the island of Puerto Rico. In short, Old San Juan merchants perform a juggling act with little or no support from the local government.

Preparing for a Disaster

You would think a festival would give these merchants a breath of fresh air by bringing new business and some extra cash. The opposite happens and  preparing for the festival is more like preparing for a natural disaster.

Every merchant I know closes down for safety and security reasons. They try to cut their losses short by not opening for those days and not having any major loss caused by the crowds.

I was even amazed that, my favorite beer garden, La Taberna Lúpulo decided to close down because the crowd that arrives at San Sebastian is not interested in enjoying high quality beer.

Is Medalla Talking to their Audience?

Based on how much profit Medalla probably made, you really can’t blame them if they are just thinking of their bottom line and trying to reach the audience that makes them profitable. Those who buy their beer in large quantities, get inebriated and also find themselves vandalizing the streets of Old San Juan.

UPDATE: As of 7:11 PM of January 22, 2014 In a typical traditional public relations move they deleted the image without an apology or further explanation. 

A Missed Opportunity

With the high volume of sales Medalla does during that specific week tied to steep tax incentives the least they could do is give back.

If the image posted would have mentioned that it’s of their interest to protect our island’s assets, they could have donated and created a fund to fix part of the destruction. The brand would have looked like a HERO instead of a ZERO!

I still think they have time to flip this around especially after implying they were part of the destruction and being proud of of this with their picture and ad .

The Message Does Not Surprise Me

But then again the message does not surprise me because one, it’s normal for beer companies to communicate online without thinking about the consequences and two they might be drinking so much Medalla they were probably drunk when they posted the status.

What are your thoughts?


  1. Prometeo on January 22, 2014 at 7:27 pm

    This beer company has a shady exemption from the government that grants them about $40 million annually. I wonder why there is no investigation on this.

    Adelante y éxito.

    • Raul Colon on January 23, 2014 at 9:26 am

      @Prometeopr:disqus I am all for businesses getting support on sustaining itself. But it seems Medalla can operate without the exemption. 🙂