Mexican Company Launches Beer in Honor of Unofficial Drug Saint

Jesus Malverde is considered a Mexican Robin Hood and the patron saint of drug lords.

On Wednesday, he got his own beer.

A Mexican brewery in the western city of Guadalajara began selling the Malverde beer in the northwestern state of Sinaloa, long considered one of the country's main drug strongholds.

Malverde is believed to have been a construction or railroad worker who was hanged in 1909 in Culiacan, Sinaloa's capital. He later developed a reputation as someone who stole from the rich and gave to the poor, although the details of his life remain unclear.

Eventually he was adopted as the saint for drug traffickers and a chapel was built in his honor. The Roman Catholic Church does not recognize Malverde.

Minerva Brewery decided to use the late outlaw's name because it wanted a new beer to market in northwest Mexico, marketing director Juan Carlos Banda told The Associated Press.

"We were looking for a character from Mexican folklore, a graphic representation of local culture," he said.

The brewery said it considered other representatives, like the professional wrestler "El Santo" and "La Llorona," a woman who, according to legend, appears at night to cry for her children.

"Looking at all the possibilities, we found that Malverde was recognized the most in this section of the country," Banda said.

The beer features a toned down image of Malverde, without his trademark neckerchief, his gold chain with a bejeweled pistol charm or his gun-motif belt buckle.

Banda said he isn't worried that the beer would be associated with drug trafficking, arguing that Malverde is known more for his support of the poor.